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Saturday Night Live adds African-American female comedian to cast

Published on Jan 7, 2014 6:34 AM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Saturday Night Live has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member for the late-night comedy sketch show, a spokeswoman for network NBC said on Monday, months after the programme was criticised for a lack of diversity among its female cast.

Zamata, who stars in her own internet comedy series Pursuit of Sexiness, will be the first African-American female cast member since Maya Rudolph left Saturday Night Live in 2007.

SNL came under criticism in October for its lack of female diversity after cast member Kenan Thompson said he would no longer play African-American women such as Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.

The show later spoofed that criticism with a sketch in which guest host Kerry Washington played several African-American figures, including first lady Michelle Obama, whose character has been left out of much of the show's political satire because of casting.

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