Flashers, sexual violence, and racism: SNL’s new cast member, Sasheer Zamata, takes on serious issues

photo by Cate Hellman http://www.catehellman.com

photo by Cate Hellman http://www.catehellman.com

Joining the cast of Saturday Night LiveSasheer Zamata will become the first African-American woman to grace the show in six years. You mean there are actually funny people who are simultaneously female and African American? Who knew? (Not SNL, apparently.) It’s truly mind-blowing! Where did SNL find this person? Really, though, SNL got the memo that their lack of diversity–which Syreeta and Juliana have written about recently–was unacceptable and in no way a reflection of the lack of talent of people of color. Because there is no lack of talent among people of color; there is just lack of opportunity, thanks to places like…SNL, to come full circle.

Anyway, not only is Zamata hilarious, but she’s a smart cookie and talented writer and uses humor to tackle serious issues. Here are three videos that bring the funny to the… racist-capitalist-patriarchy.

1. “White White Ad Execs Make Commercials for Black People” is a video by UCB Comedy, which Zamata wrote and appears in. As you’ll see, it addresses white businesses’ attempts to capitalize on and commodify black people and exposes the racist homogenization and dumbing down of African Americans. Unlike my description, however, it’s funny and enjoyable.

2. Written by Zamata and made by UCB Comedy, “Be Blacker” takes on racism, and in–a life imitating art imitating life je ne sais quois–shows how white Hollywood either doesn’t cast black actors and, when it does, attempts to minstrelize them.

3. “Sasheer Meets Her Flasher” is a video directed by Chioke Nassor and written by Zamata. It looks at street harassment, flashers, sexual assault, masculinity and…”dicks.”

Fingers crossed, we’ll see a lot more of Zamata’s  biting social commentary and satire and a lotless of the white dude bro-ishness plaguing Saturday Night Live lately.

If anyone is able to add transcripts in the comments, I’d be very grateful it.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.13.50 PMKatie Halper is also available for SNL auditions.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

Read more about Katie

Join the Conversation