On Saturday, Nov. 4, Sasheer Zamata will be the second “Saturday Night Live” star to bring stand-up comedy to Binghamton University this semester.
Most recently, the Student Association Programming Board (SAPB) sponsored the Family Weekend comedy show, which featured Colin Quinn of “Saturday Night Live,” Joe List of “Conan” and Chris Gethard of “The Chris Gethard Show.” Zamata’s performance will be in Lecture Hall 1.
Raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Zamata attended the University of Virginia, where she founded an improv group. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to New York City in 2009 and started performing regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. In 2013, she began co-hosting “Primetime: Would You Fall for That?”, an ABC News hidden-camera show that brought psychological experiments to the streets of New York City. She has also appeared in sketches for CollegeHumor, MTV’s “Hey Girl” and Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer.”
Zamata joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in January 2014 and stayed on the show for three seasons before leaving in May 2017. During her time on “Saturday Night Live,” she gained popularity for her impersonations of Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Diana Ross, Taraji P. Henson and more.
Not only has Zamata thrived in acting and comedy, but she has also dedicated herself to social and political issues. In 2015, she was named a celebrity ambassador to the American Civil Liberties Union. Her outreach with the organization has focused on the fight for women’s rights — specifically the challenges faced by women of color. She has used her platform to speak out against sexism, racism, colorism and Eurocentric beauty standards.
In an interview with Elizabeth Siegel for Allure magazine, Zamata said that she has gotten comments from black fans who are inspired by her presence in the entertainment industry.
“I am darker than a lot of women who are on TV, and my hair is natural,” she said. “To a lot of people, it’s really important to see me on TV, and I’m so happy to be there and do that.”
Last semester, SAPB brought “Saturday Night Live” writer Anna Drezen and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Aidy Bryant to campus. Highlights of their show included excerpts from Bryant’s diary, awkward interactions between audience members and jokes about BU’s status as a public Ivy.
BU students praised Bryant’s “woman-centered” approach to comedy, and audience members can probably expect similar content from Zamata. “Pursuit of Sexiness,” a web series co-starring and co-created by Zamata and comedian Nicole Byer, focuses on the New York City dating scene from the perspective of two single women.
Libby Aliberti, Student Association vice president for programming and a senior majoring in biology, said she was excited to hear Zamata’s take on current events.
“I think she’s a great comedian, and also semi-activist, she’s big with women’s rights,” she said. “I loved her on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I also think she’s going to have some great things to say about society lately.”
The show will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 1. Admission is free, but students should RSVP to the event through B-Engaged.