SNL comedian, Sasheer Zamata, performs for Family Weekend


Nathan Kronbeck

On Saturday, Sept. 24 in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium, comedian Sasheer Zamata concluded Winona State University’s’ family weekend.

Lillianna Van De Walker, Features Reporter

The Warrior Entertainment Network hosted comedian Sasheer Zamata to conclude Saturday night’s schedule for Winona State University’s’ family weekend.

Zamata, seen on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, captivated her audience by telling jokes and entertainingly educating the audience on a few social issues that she, a black woman, has more outlook on.

“The show was very interesting,” an audience member said. “We got to hear things from her perspective.”

The show began at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium, located in Somsen Hall. The seats were filled by Winona State students and families that were reunited that weekend. As the show commenced, the audience was engaged right away.

Zamata broke the ice with the crowd by joking about something mostly everyone could relate to, COVID-19.

“Has anyone here already had COVID?” Zamata said. “Does anyone here currently have COVID?” Zamata said as the crowd laughed.

As the show continued, Zamata had many comedic bits that tied into social injustices. For example, she joked about the way pineapples were named and compared it to how Christopher Columbus inaccurately named Indigenous people “Indians” when he explored America.

“And guess which European settler named the pineapple? … Christopher Colonizer Columbus,” Zamata said.

Zamata also had some comedic bits that brought some families closer in a way they did not expect. These bits showed students’ parents that their children will most likely be hearing about the “uncomfortable” topics that were joked about in Zamata’s show.

“This is family day, right? Is anyone here just with their parents?” Zamata said, acknowledging that this might be an awkward show for some. “Get comfy, it’s just like this the whole time.”

Zamata also showed the audience her ability to improvise when there was a technical issue behind the scenes and music started to play over the auditorium’s speakers. Zamata danced to music, humoring the situation. Zamata also asked the audience what the name of the song was because she was curious about some of the lyrics. An audience member shouted out that it was “Stockholm Syndrome” by One Direction. Zamata was shocked by the song title and took it as an opportunity for another joke.

“Yikes! Why are they singing about Stockholm syndrome?” Zamata said, concerned.

A few audience members shared their thoughts after Zamata’s show.

“She was as good as I expected … I also warned my parents that it was not going to be very PG-13,” Abbi Gleason, an audience member, said. “I loved it.”

Zamata’s show was open to WSU students, family, and locals. Zamata was a big hit with the crowd and many audience members thought so too. (Nathan Kronbeck)

 “I would definitely recommend her to friends, but I probably wouldn’t tell grandma about it,” Gleason’s mother said, laughing with her kids. “The kids might have to explain a few things to us later.”

Other audience members gave input on Zamata’s comedic skills.

“She was very metaphorical and transitioned between jokes very well,” Jacob, another Winona State student and audience member, said.

Joe Grizzle, the main stage director for the Warrior Entertainment Network, said that they decided to host Zamata for family weekend because she matched what they were looking for. Grizzle said that when it comes to criteria, they are usually open to all acts.

“Each event is based on the crowd we are expecting,” Grizzle said.

Zamata was a big hit with the crowd and even managed to keep the audience off their phones throughout the show. It was obvious that the Warrior Entertainment Network made a good choice by choosing Zamata.