It looks like there will be three openings on the Saturday Night Live cast next season. Following the expected departures of longtime cast members Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer, which were reported prior to last weekend’s season finale, Sasheer Zamata has also left the show, according to a report from Entertainment Tonight. Zamata is the newest member of the cast of the three, having joined in 2014. Though her departure wasn’t publicly known, she was lifted up and carried off the stage after the show went off the air, just as Bayer and Moynihan were.
When Zamata was hired, SNL was under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity, and specifically the fact that the show hadn’t featured a black woman on the cast since Maya Rudolf, who had left the show seven years earlier, a situation producer Lorne Michaels promised to rectify. In subsequent years, the show has been enjoying a creative and ratings renaissance, with Saturday’s season finale the highest rated in six years.
Unlike Moynihan, who left the show because his sitcom, Me, Myself & I, was picked up by CBS, there was no stated reason for Bayer and Zamata’s departures. Oddly, Zamata didn’t seem to be featured throughout the episode in the same way Moynihan and Bayer were, acting in nearly every sketch of the night and playing their well-known characters on Weekend Update. Zamata also didn’t take part in a graduating high school class sketch that many viewers saw as a metaphor for the real-life departures of Moynihan and Bayer.
On Instagram, Zamata posted a photo of herself being carried off the stage by Colin Jost and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:
A post shared by Sasheer Zamata (@thesheertruth) on May 21, 2017 at 10:08am PDT
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