‘SNL’ Star Sasheer Zamata Tells It Like It Is, And Then Some, In Her New Special

03.30.17 12 months ago


Sasheer Zamata knows most people will recognize her from Saturday Night Live. The long-running show hired her in 2014, then promoted her to repertory player in 2015. But there’s more to Zamata than SNL, as her new Seeso stand-up special Pizza Mind proves repeatedly: She’s a fiercely funny and intelligent comedian everyone should be watching.

What makes Zamata all the more funnier is her honesty, a trait she likely gets from her mother, whom she describes as “unabashedly blunt.” Whether she’s acknowledging the recognition SNL grants (and the intense rigor such a job requires), or some audiences members’ inability to differentiate her from one-time SNL host Kerry Washington, Zamata never cushions her jokes. Even when, as happens in Pizza Mind on occasion, she decides to amplify her stand-up with animations, sketch reenactment, or musical numbers.

Your mother’s steering wheel story reminded me of the time I played Cards Against Humanity with my parents. There were tears.

That’s really funny. Yes, when that happens — when you get to an age when you’re like, “Oh wait a minute, now my parents are just freely telling me information that I just did not want to know.” It’s the best and the worst.

Pizza Mind animates or sketches certain parts of your routine, a la Shorties Watchin’ Shorties or Comedy Central Re-Animated. So when you started telling the steering wheel story, my first thought was: “She’s about to do that here.”

I feel like my mom would be so pissed if we did, but maybe she wouldn’t. She surprises me sometimes. She asked me what jokes I was going to do, and I’ve been including my mom in a lot of my onstage stories. Ever since I started doing stand-up, I think. She’s just so entertaining, and I can’t help but talk about her. She was like, “Which jokes are you going to tell about me?” So I told her the dragon one and the bit about her acting. After a while I felt confident enough to tell her about the steering wheel story. She immediately said, “Oh good! I like that one.” I was like, “What?”


She just likes it.

I’m always curious about what the family thinks about a comedian’s routines about them. I guess you’ve already answered that question.

She’s just unabashedly blunt. I mean, I admire how much she gives zero fucks. She’s always been like that. I can hear her now in my head: “Yeah, I said it. Tell everyone I said it. I don’t care.”

Most people know you from SNL, but you’ve been a working stand-up for almost a decade. This is your first special, correct?

It is. This is my first one.

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