Talking Comedy and Justice with Sasheer Zamata

SAMMI DYSON | NEWS CORRESPONDENT

The Cassandra Voss Center hosted the next event in their continuing “Delight in the Fight: disarming justice with humor and joy” programming on Monday, March 14. The event featured actor and writer Sasheer Zamata, a comedian who is best known for her role as a member of the “Saturday Night Live” cast.

Zamata graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and began moving up the popularity ladder through sketch comedy and YouTube, among other things. In 2014 she achieved her most famous role so far as an actor on “Saturday Night Live.”

The event hosted by the CVC was a Sasheer Zamata Video Fest, part of Green Bay’s “Festival Around Town” series. The video fest included several comedy sketches in which Zamata had participated. These came from The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), UCB Comedy, “Inside Amy Schumer,” SNL and Punch Culture Shelf. While all the videos received laughs, as they intended, they also made important points about racism and women’s rights.

Samm Dick ’19 attended the event, and said her favorite video was “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” from “Saturday Night Live.”  This video portrayed a dramatized version of the reaction to the recent release of Beyoncé’s controversial song, “Formation.”

Dick said she liked it “because it showed how today, almost everything is made for white audiences, but when all of a sudden it isn’t, people get offended and say it’s reverse racism.”

After watching the comedy clips, the second part of the program allowed audience members to connect with Zamata via Skype to discuss the videos in a talk-back, both the humor and the serious topics were addressed.

Several of the attendees were eager to ask questions regarding acting and comedy. A theater class was in attendance, and some of them asked for tips or suggestions about performing, especially about preparing beforehand.

“She had good advice for the theater people,” said Dick, who was also a member of the class.

Additionally, people wanted to hear Zamata’s opinions on injustice in the world, especially in the world of acting. More specifically, they asked about the difficulty of getting desired roles due to race and gender inequality. Zamata agreed that while it has not always affected her, it certainly still exists and that measures should be taken to make it no longer exist.

Another audience member brought up the controversy regarding racism in the Oscars. She speculated that this is because of larger problems within the industry itself rather than the awards.

The Cassandra Voss Center holds programs like these regularly. For more information on the CVC or its future events, visit snc.edu/cvc.

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