Sasheer Zamata Debuts on "Saturday Night Live"

Sasheer Zamata, the first female African-American cast member on the show since Maya Rudolph left in 2007, appeared in almost every sketch in the first half hour

By Christine Burroni
|  Monday, Jan 20, 2014  |  Updated 11:31 AM EDT
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    Returning after a three week hiatus, "Saturday Night Live" debut a new cast member and caught up viewers on the latest headlines with the help of host and musical guest Drake.

    Sasheer Zamata, the first female African-American cast member on the show since Maya Rudolph left in 2007, appeared in almost every sketch in the first half hour and proved to be a triple threat— a comedian, dancer and a singer. In a sketch introduced by BET personality Sway (Kenan Thompson) Zamata came out dancing as teen Rihanna.

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    She also starred in a pop-themed music video, "Resolution Revolution," mocking New Year's resolutions along with Drake, Jay Pharoah, and Taran Killam.
     
    To show off her acting chops, Zamata played a typical teen at a sleepover, embarrassed by her friend (Aidy Bryant), who was uncomfortably attracted to Zamata's dad, Drake. She also played Drake's proud aunt in the opening monologue that included a flash back of the singer's bar mitzvah where the rapper's African-American and Jewish sides of the family met for the first time.
     
    The show's cold open, a CNN spoof of "Piers Morgan Live," led a roundup of the latest news stories involving public figures "accused of misleading the American people": New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Bobby Moynihan), New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez (Drake), and Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon).
     
    Asked by Morgan (Taran Killam) about the George Washington Bridge lange closures scandal, Christie shot back, "It's over, so shut up."
     
    "I will not let this define the state of New Jersey," the mock governor said, explaining that New Jersey will continue to be defined by pizza and organized crime.

    The interview moved to Rodriguez who immediately exclaimed, "No, you're the one who's lying!"

    A-Rod, who is suing Major League Baseball after receiving a 162-game suspension as as result of a drug investigation, continued to explain how he is not only suing the MLB, but is also "suing steroids for being inside my body." The baseball player blamed his iPhone's autocorrect for creating incriminating texts between him and Anthony Bosh, who claims to have supplied Rodriguez with testosterone and human growth hormone.

    The faux Piers also interviewed Bieber, who was trying to cover up his egg-throwing incident at his neighbor's home by declaring it a Canadian tradition.

    The "Weekend Update" with Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong also took on the bridgegate fallout. Meyers remarked, "If you cross this guy," showing a picture of Christie, "you don't get to cross this guy," showing a picture of the George Washington Bridge. Meyers also touched on President Barack Obama's proposed restrictions on NSA surveillance.

    "President Obama proposed a series of overhauls to government surveillance program to change the way the NSA collects phone data, for example they'd like to change back to collecting it secretly," Meyers said.

    Strong also commented on recent revelations that the Obamacare site is still vulnerable to hackers. "Hey Hackers," she said, "If you could figure that website out, it's all yours."

    Drake performed his hit songs, "Started from the Bottom," "Hold On We're Going Home," and "From Time," featuring Jhene Aiko.

    Next week's host will be Jonah Hill featuring musical guest Bastille. 

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