The search has ended for the newest "Saturday Night Live" cast member. The show hired 27-year-old Sasheer Zamata on Monday, making her the long-running show's first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left in 2007.
"SNL" faced a great deal of criticism last year after viewers and critics once again raised concerns about the lack of diversity in the show's cast. Specifically, the absence of a black female cast member left many people dissatisfied. In response to the controversy, "SNL" launched a secret, midseason talent search in Los Angeles, auditioning at least 10 different black female comedians for a spot on the show.
But it was Zamata who ultimately snagged the coveted spot, making her the 17th member of the current "SNL" cast, reports the New York Times. So what do you need to know about the newest comedian hired for the show? We've gathered five facts to know about Zamata below.
1. She Is Based In New York
Zamata has been performing as a comedian around New York for the past four years, reports the Times. According to her website, she performs improv comedy with the New York City and L.A.-based indie comedy team Doppleganger. She also performs with the house improv team BUCKY at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
2. She Has Her Own Web Series
Zamata plays Sheer in the series "Pursuit of Sexiness." The series follows the story of Sheer and her best friend Nicky -- played by Nicole Byer -- as they make their way through life in New York City.
3. She Attended the University of Virginia
Zamata graduated with a degree in drama from the University of Virginia, relocating to New York in 2009. That same year she began performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade.
4. She Will Be A "Featured Player" On The Show
As a new cast member, the Times reports, Zamata will assume the traditional role of "featured player." She brings the number of women on the "SNL" cast to seven.
5. Her Debut On "SNL" Is Scheduled For January
Fans of Zamata won't have to wait long for her first episode. She will be appearing on the show for the first time on Jan. 18 -- which will be the first new episode of the season. The show will be hosted by Drake.
Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...