News

‘SNL’ adds black woman to cast

‘SNL’ adds black woman to cast

NEW CAST MEMBER: "SNL" has come under fire for a lack of diversity among female cast members. Photo: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Saturday Night Live” has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member for the late-night comedy sketch show, a spokeswoman for network NBC said on Monday, months after the program was criticized for a lack of diversity among its female cast.

Zamata, who stars in her own internet comedy series “Pursuit of Sexiness,” will be the first African-American female cast member since Maya Rudolph left “Saturday Night Live” in 2007.

“SNL” came under criticism in October for its lack of female diversity after cast member Kenan Thompson said he would no longer play black women such as Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.

The show later spoofed that criticism with a sketch in which guest host Kerry Washington played several African-American figures, including first lady Michelle Obama, whose character has been left out of much of the show’s political satire because of casting.

Zamata, who has performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade improv comedy troupe, will make her debut on Jan. 18.

“Saturday Night Live,” which has launched the Hollywood careers of Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Tina Fey and others, added six new members to its cast in September before the beginning of its current 39th season.

NBC is owned by Comcast Corp.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Illinois Killer’s Extradition Pending with Missouri Governor

Fresh
jail

A Missouri prosecutor says convicted Illinois killer Nicholas Sheley's extradition paperwork remains with Gov. Jay Nixon.

in Local

Wind Farm Could Be Headed to Logan County

Fresh
wind turbine

$390 million project will bring renewable energy

in Local

Potential ALPLM Separation on Hold

Fresh
Lincoln Presidential Museum

The chair of a state committee says lawmakers should wait for an outside study before considering plans to separate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from a state agency.

in Local

Springfield Woman Faces More DUI Charges in Crash That Killed Two

ANDREA LITTLE 102052

Faces 11 counts in the deaths from a fatal October crash

in Local

Committee Hearings Begin on YWCA Block Redevelopment

4th and jackson

Two city blocks eyed for redevelopment