‘SNL’ Cast Member Sasheer Zamata on Creating a Career in Comedy: “I just followed the things I was really interested in”

Actress Shasheer Zamata

“I thought I was going to do theater and Broadway and stuff. But I kept going to see UCB shows and was such a fan I was like, ‘I should really just try this.'” – Shasheer Zamata

Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata didn’t grow up  aspiring to be a cast member of the long-running television institution, but the actress was quickly bit by the comedy bug when she had her very first taste of it. In an interview with NPR, Zamata explains how she turned an interest in comic performing into a career as a full-fledged comedian.

Zamata says that her journey consisted of following what she enjoyed. She says, “I just followed the fun. I just followed the things I was really interested in, and it turned out to be what I needed to do.” Zamata then went on to explain how she went from a college student in Virginia to a regular performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York:

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater has a touring company and they go to colleges and a group came to my college at UVA [University of Virginia] and there was a talk back … and someone asked how you get a career in comedy, and Bobby Moynihan, who happened to be in the group said, ‘Move to New York, go to UCB, and work really hard.’ So I did that. When I moved to New York I didn’t know how much improv and comedy would play into my life. I thought I was going to do theater and Broadway and stuff. But I kept going to see UCB shows and was such a fan I was like, ‘I should really just try this.’ [I] dove in hard, starting taking classes back-to-back, started taking sketch classes, and started doing stand-up all at the same time, and then eventually I was like, “Oh this is all I want to do.’ … Eventually my mangers and agents saw me perform and signed me and then I started getting money for it and … it turned into my career.

Leave a Reply

Sterling K. Brown on Becoming an Actor: “You get bit, and you just keep chasing that”
"I was used to being 'that dude from that show, who got shot in that episode'" - Sterling K. Brown
Richard Dreyfuss on Winning an Oscar: “You’re riskier when you’re on the hunt”
"I had no doubt of my eventual success." - Richard Dreyfuss
‘Stranger Things’ Star Shannon Purser on Getting Cast as Barb
"I had never booked anything, gotten close calls, and then one day I got an email about this new show called Stranger Things, asking for a tape." - Shannon Purser
Watch: SAG Conversations on Broadway with Andy Karl
Karl recalls his highs and lows on stages and reveals the charming side that has made him a huge star.
Watch: SAG Conversations with Alexander Skarsgard of ‘Big Little Lies’
Skarsgard talks about his career and work on HBO's 'Big Little Lies'