Shame on Saturday Night Live for barely giving us a chance to appreciate what Sasheer Zamata could do, and then not even letting us know she was leaving. Then again, that latter decision could have been Zamata’s own.
At least we have Pizza Mind, released this March on Seeso, to find out what Zamata is capable of on her own and can give us a piece of her mind.
In her first solo stand-up special, she leans into her plight as a black woman on SNL with a bit about how a supposed fan of Zamata confuses her instead for Kerry Washington – when, of course, Washington starred in a sketch mocking the show for not having any black women in the cast. That moment, plus earlier comments made by Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh, prompted protests that prompted SNL creator Lorne Michaels to hold special auditions which led to the hiring of Zamata and Jones.
Zamata herself wasn’t known for stand-up before SNL, having garnered critical attention first for her work with the improv trio Doppelganger (which also featured Nicole Byer, later of MTV’s *Loosely Exactly Nicole and FOX’s Party Over Here) and then her own webseries.
So it’s also no surprise that what makes Pizza Mind shine isn’t so much the stand-up but the way she reframes her performance, whether through talking to herself via multiple personalities a la Black Swan, going animated, or playing against herself in dramatic re-enactments.