Sasheer Zamata talks SNL, dating blunders and living in New York City


Sasheer Zamata
Sasheer Zamata talked to students about her personal experiences, such as working with Drake on “Saturday Night Live.”

On Saturday night, “Saturday Night Live” player Sasheer Zamata explained to an audience in the Perkins Student Center West Lounge where she got her unique name.

“My name is not from any African or island culture, it’s from ‘Star Trek’ the TV Show,” Zamata says. “My parents are Trekkies.”

Zamata joined the “SNL” cast this season, making her the first black female cast member in six years. In addition to joining the NBC show on Jan. 18, she appears in the web series “Pursuit of Sexiness” and has guest starred in “CollegeHumor” sketches. The comedian spoke about her experience on “SNL” thus far, recapping moments like working with Drake and acting in the “Scandal” sketch. She also shared humorous anecdotes about dating, living in New York City and her family’s dynamics.

Freshman Teresa Dozier says the best aspect of Zamata’s performance was how relatable she was.

“I liked how she talked about her experiences because I could really connect with some of them,” Dozier says.

New York comedian Ryan Beck opened for Zamata at the event, which was free of charge and sponsored by OPT4, the Student Centers Programming Advisory Board (SCPAB), Student Wellness and Health Promotion and the University Student Centers.

Regina Phillips, outreach specialist at Student Wellness and Health Promotions, says the event was free to students due to a grant from the state of Delaware. The grant funds planned activities held late in the evenings on weekends to provide an alternative to drinking. OPT4 also applied for additional funding.

She says the organizations wanted to provide a fun event for students to attend on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which is considered a popular time for partying.

“She is from ‘SNL’ and we thought that would drive a lot of people out on a big active social day on campus,” Phillips says. “We wanted to provide a good headliner so that people would come to the event instead of going out and participating in harming behavior such as binge drinking.”

Meaghan Davidson, assistant director for University Student Centers, says she advises SCPAB with their events and often assists them with booking comedy acts that are featured at their weekly Coffeehouse events held in the Scrounge every Tuesday night. She says she watched Zamata perform on “SNL” before booking her as a performer and thought she would be well received by a student audience.

Davidson says Zamata was the perfect choice for this event due to her rising popularity in the New York comedy circuit and thinks that it is very likely that the comedian’s stardom will increase even more in the coming years.

“She’s so relevant and exciting right now,” Davidson says. “She’s making history within the improv comedy world and beyond, and it’s always a great opportunity to pick someone up before they get really big. SCPAB does that at the Coffeehouse all the time inexpensively, and then five to 10 years later some of these comedians blow up and are huge names. We were capitalizing on the fact that she’s just getting big and wanted to jump on that.”

After her stand up routine, Zamata opened up for a question and answer session. Student questions revealed that she shops at second hand clothing stores, admires David Chappelle and Richard Pryor as stand up idols and enjoys impersonating Beyoncé. She did the impression for the audience, impersonating a candid conversation between Beyoncé and her fellow Destiny’s Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

Junior Molly Peters says the question and answer portion was her favorite, particularly when Zamata did her impressions.

“My favorite moment was definitely the Destiny’s Child impersonation at the end, one hundred percent,” Peters says. “She was awesome.”

Peters says although she had not watched Zamata on an episode of “SNL” prior to the event, she plans to after seeing her perform at the university. She says she wants to find the episodes she has been featured in thus far on Hulu so that she can catch up on Zamata’s sketches.

Phillips says due to her performance at the university, many students will start paying attention to Sasheer’s career on “SNL.”

“They will probably follow Sasheer on ‘SNL’ if they hadn’t already,” Phillips says. “I think that because she’s so relatable that’s also what drew students in.”

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