Last week brought the not entirely unforeseen (and probably a bit necessary) news that Saturday Night Live was not only looking for a black comedienne to join their lacking cast, but that they were doing it with an aim to find a new player for the sketch comedy show post-haste. The news that the show had held a showcase for black female performers in Los Angeles was the first indication that Lorne Michaels and company were planning on adding to their roster in the new year, and that exciting news was soon joined by Michaels’ official confirmation that they are indeed looking to add one (or even two!) new players in January after the show’s holiday hiatus and word that the show had also held a similar showcase in New York City.
It now seems that our new star(s) will likely be coming to the wide world of television out of the New York City showcase, as The New York Daily News (via Gothamist) now shares that at least three of the performers from the NYC group have been offered callbacks. But if we’re going to be getting familiar with at least one of these ladies (and soon!), why not get to know them a bit more, well, now?
The three names all touted to be in the serious running for the comedy show include Sasheer Zamata, Natasha Rothwell, and Kerry Coddett. While the three ladies all do different things with their comedy stylings, the trio are all alumnae of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a frequent feeder for SNL. So what do these three all do?
Zamata is a Jill of all trades type of performer (something that seems to be a bit of running theme with this batch of funny ladies). The actress, writer, improviser, and stand up comedian is well-known for both her own web series, Pursuit of Sexiness, and her appearances in other comedy videos (including ones for College Humor and Jest). She also hosts her own weekly variety show at UCB, where she frequently appears for improv shows a few nights a week. Zamata also pops up in both TV shows and TV commericals. She’s everywhere! (She also has a very cool website.)
Here is some of Zamata’s stand up from earlier this year:
Over at the UCB site, Rothwell is billed as “a comedy performer, writer and director living and working in New York. This sometimes worries her mother.” (Yes, we’re already giggling.) She has performed at a number of well-respected venues, including The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Olney Theatre, and Arena Stage. She is also the winner of an NBC Universal Diversity Scholarship, which would fit in quite nicely at SNL, which is an NBC show. Rothwell is a true improv performer, but she’s also got some modern chops – she frequently appears on the podcast Naked Radio. Rothwell is also one half of the duo Hodapp and Rothwell, so she certainly seems into the team aspect of sketch comedy.
Here is one of her most popular UCB sketches:
And you might know Coddett not for her comedy, but for her outspoken op-eds about Saturday Night Live and, yes, its lack of diversity. Back in November, the comedienne took to both The Atlantic and The Huffington Post to pen some pieces on the issue from her unique perspective. They are some very fine bits of writing, and Coddett is damn insightful, so give them a read when you get a chance. (Here’s a sample: “The roles it offers to them fall in line with much of the rest of popular media: stereotypical, demeaning, and scarce…Perhaps it’s not that black women aren’t ‘ready’ for SNL; it’s that SNL isn’t ready for a black woman. And it won’t be—until the show is ready to change the roles it asks black actresses to play.”)
Comedy-wise, Coddett is known for her web series The Coddett Project, which touts the comedienne as “a comedian, writer, and self-proclaimed smart ass” and the show as including “a range of sketches, prank shows, and musical parodies.” Coddett can do a lot, and her very funny series proves it. Take a peek over at the show’s official site, which includes both full epsiodes and standout segments.
Here is some of her stand-up about being from Brookyln:
Do you have a favorite from this batch? Did SNL miss out a talented lady not listed here?