She is the first black woman to be added to the regular cast since 2007

By Associated Press
Updated January 06, 2014 05:00 PM
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Credit: Heidi Gutman/ABC/Getty

Saturday Night Live is adding a black woman to its cast after being criticized for a lack of diversity.

NBC said Monday that Sasheer Zamata will join the show later this month. She is a recent University of Virginia graduate who has worked for the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy group in New York City.

SNL hasn’t had a black woman among its regular cast members since the biracial Maya Rudolph left in 2007. It has had four black women in its regular troupe since premiering in 1975.

It became an issue earlier this season after the show’s two black male cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson, made comments about the absence. It also was joked about onscreen when Kerry Washington of Scandal was a guest host.