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'Saturday Night Live' addresses criticism, adds black female cast member

Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata Credit: Sasheer Zamata (Getty)

It seems “Saturday Night Live” already has fulfilled one New Year’s resolution.

After facing criticism earlier this season for the absence of a black female cast member, the show has hired comedienne Sasheer Zamata, a spokeswoman for NBC confirmed Monday.

Zamata, a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and star of “The Pursuit of Sexiness” web series, will make her debut on Jan. 18, according to entertainment blog Deadline.

Zamata will be the show’s first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph’s departure in 2007.

“SNL” came under fire this season after revealing six new performers, five of whom were white men.

The show’s current cast includes two minority women — Nasim Pedrad is Iranian, and newbie Noel Wells is Hispanic and Tunisian — and two black men, Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh.

The show poked fun at itself in November, when an opening sketch featured a frazzled Kerry Washington sprinting between quick changes to channel Michelle Obama, Oprah and Beyonce. A voice-over promised to address the issue “unless we fall in love with another white guy first.”

Toward the end of the year, producers held several casting sessions for women of color, inviting a handful of candidates to come audition at the “SNL” studio in 30 Rock.

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