Nellie Andreeva

zamataEXCLUSIVE: Four years after she graduated from the University of Virginia, Sasheer Zamata is landing a very big break — the young comedy performer has been selected to join Saturday Night Live as a new cast member. Zamata will make her debut on the venerable NBC late-night sketch comedy series on its next live show slated for January 18 with Drake as host and musical guest. Zamata, who trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, becomes the first black female Saturday Night Live cast member in five years since the departure of Maya Rudolph. The lack of female black performers on the show stirred a debate last fall while SNL boss Lorne Michaels had been quietly conducting a talent search. Several dozen actresses were seen in multiple cities. Zamata, whose name had been floated as a suitable SNL candidate before, was among 12 who received callbacks and were invited to test on the SNL stage on December 16. She will now be a featured player on the show that has launched the careers of a slew of young comedians. Below you can watch her character reel that includes impersonations of Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Sherri Shepherd, Ru Paul and Nicki Minaj. She is repped by Gersh and Bleeker Street.

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