Zamata is a Brooklyn-based comedian who's about to become the first black woman on the show in six years

By Nate Jones
January 08, 2014 11:55 AM
Heidi Gutman/ABC/Getty

After its lack of diversity became a social-media talking point and topic for criticism, Saturday Night Live officially hired comedian Sasheer Zamata on Monday.

The addition marks the first time a black woman has been a cast regular since Maya Rudolph left the long-running variety show in 2007.

Zamata’s SNL debut will take place Jan.18, when Drake will serve as both host and musical guest.

RELATED: Sasheer Zamata Joining Cast of Saturday Night Live

As for Zamata, here are six must-know facts about the newest face at Studio 8H.

1. She’s a University of Virginia grad (with a drama degree) and moved to New York in 2009.
Like Tina Fey, Zamata is a Cavalier, and according to her bio, “she loves thrift shopping and eating.” So yes, she has a lot in common with her SNL predecessor.

2. She comes from the Upright Citizens Brigade family.
Founded by Amy Poehler, the (literally) underground New York comedy theater has been a key launching point for SNL cast members, including current stars Bobby Moynihan and Kate McKinnon. Zamata hosted the Brigade’s variety show and was a member of the UCB house improv team, Bucky.

3. She does great impressions.
Notable ones include Michelle Obama, Beyonce Knowles and Tyra Banks.

4. Zamata was featured in Cosmo‘s Funny Women to Watch in 2014 List.
“Her star is on the rise,” the magazine noted, citing “her hilarious web shorts in which she takes honest looks at the street interactions between men and women.”

5. She’s on Twitter.
Like a lot of comedians, Zamata gives away some of her best stuff for free on her Twitter account, @thesheertruth (which has seen an exponential rise in followers since Monday’s announcement).

6. Her show Pursuit of Sexiness was one of Variety‘s Top Web Series of 2013. The (somewhat NSFW) series follows Sasheer and fellow comedian Nicole Byer as they navigate the tricky world of New York City dating, including drunken shenanigans, Facebook stalking and boyfriends who might think you’re a prostitute.

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