*”I’m the new black girl on SNL!” began Sasheer Zamata at a South by Southwest event in Texas over the weekend.
Held at Austin comedy club Esther’s Follies, dozens were reportedly turned away at the door from the hot event, billed as “Up Next with Fred Armisen.” Top-lined by “SNL” alumnus Armisen — who has since gone on to score sketch comedy gold on IFC’s “Portlandia” and more recently surprised many by taking on band-leader duties on “Late Nate with Seth Meyers” — the showcase was an unofficial SNL reunion, featuring cast members old and new.
The 27-year-old Zamata — who debuted on “SNL” on Jan. 18 following a highly publicized search for an African-American woman — devoted a portion of her set to the amusing story of how her mother and brother from Indiana flew in to New York to catch her first show.
At the afterparty, Zamata’s mom asked to be introduced to “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels. Reluctantly, Zamata escorted her mother to the table where Michaels was holding court.
“I was like, ‘Lorne, this is my mom. Mom, this is Lorne,'” she said. The two shook hands and started talking, and Michaels said the comedian was a great addition to the cast and “we’re glad to have her.” Replied her mom: “I know.”
To Zamata’s horror, the proud parent then “produced a letter out of nowhere” and handed it to Michaels. As that was happening, she overheard her brother telling the show’s head writer, “This episode was actually pretty good. Seems like the season’s getting better!”
“I was like, ‘Everybody in the cab! Stop talking to people!” Zamata said.
As for the contents of the letter, “It was nice for the most part — it was a lot of like, ‘Congratulations to you for being so smart to hire my daughter.'” Her mother also told Michaels that she had been praying for his “health and the longevity” of the show, currently in its 39th season.
“I think that may have been why it’s taken them so long to hire another black girl,” Zamata joked. “Because the people we bring around are crazy.”
She also added that the makeup department was thrilled she was there, “because they get to use products they haven’t used in a decade.”