Sasheer_ZamataLike many people, I became familiar with Sasheer Zamata through Saturday Night Live. Obviously a comedian needs to put in an enormous amount of work to even get an audition for SNL, and only the most talented will actually land a role. So when we meet this “fresh face” on SNL each week, we’re actually looking at years of hard work and dedication to the craft.

I was always a fan of Zamata’s work on SNL, and even though she was great in sketches I always enjoyed her Weekend Update segments the most. These segments are a lot closer to stand-up. Where Zamata’s own voice and opinions came through in the comedy instead of being boxed in my the premise of a sketch or the limitations of an impersonation.

There were moments on SNL where Zamata’s thoughts and opinions on race, gender and equality shone through. And those moments were the most captivating.

So, despite having not seen much of her stand-up prior to last night, I opted to head out to Katacombes and see just what she would do without the constraints of being on a show like SNL.

Zamata opened the show with a good amount of new material detailing her adventure of “float camping” in Missouri with her boyfriend. Easily my favorite part of the show due to the way she masterfully diverted from the story to set up observations and jokes and then circled back to the narrative. I’ve always been a sucker for that more immersive, storytelling style of standup and Zamata’s comedic timing seemed to lend itself well to the style.

Sasheer Zamata’s material could be described by many as ‘heavy’. She doesn’t shy away from topics like depression, race, gender and the unyielding pressure society puts on all of us to be “fine” all the time. Her style is extremely conversational, she seems just as interested in educating the audience as she does in making us life.

If you’ve listened to Zamata’s first full length album “Pizza Mind” then some of the material on display in Montreal will be familiar, with some tweaks and tagups to stay fresh and funny.

Not every funny person can navigate back and forth between sketch and stand-up and be successful at both. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time, but he didn’t exactly excel in baseball. So maybe Zamata is more Bo Jackson than Michael Jordan?

Matt Okine was opening for Zamata the night I saw the show (I’m unsure if he will be her opener for the duration of the run or not). Okine’s an Australian comedian who’s mock-confrontational take on mundane subjects (his seemingly unending potato material somehow got members of the crowd to be vocally opinionated about potatoes) was a great warmup for the audience.

Sasheer Zamata has one more night at Katacombes on July 27th, tickets and info HERE.
Photo By Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (Sasheer Zamata) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

 

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