Sasheer Zamata Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, August 26
By Julianna Romanyk
Published Aug 29, 2016
In her hour at Comedy Bar, Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata made it clear that she doesn’t want to be adorable: she is angry. She won’t put up with people complaining that her standup isn’t like SNL. She’s not going to stand back when people tell women they have “resting bitch face” while men never get criticized for not smiling enough. And most of all, she won’t tolerate people who claim they “don’t see colour,” ask if they can rename her something more Anglo-Saxon, and confuse her with black actresses who look nothing like her.
Still, in spite of her fury, Zamata couldn’t help but be charming as hell. Along with stellar openers DeAnne Smith and Nigel Grinstead, it was a joy to see Zamata not only performing standup, but performing it with such a delightful blend of wit and passion.
Though Zamata was often at her funniest when she got fired up about things that irritate her, she also got hard laughs by joking about some less frustrating matters. Her quip about quitting therapy cleverly talked about the Oedipus complex, and deftly turned the concept on its head. Likewise, her material about how she was named after a rose on an alien planet in Star Trek was also amusing and smart.
Host DeAnne Smith brilliantly hyped up the crowd at the beginning of the show by getting everyone to express their excitement in gleeful silence instead of the usual forced applause break. She also joked about her tattoos of her grandmothers’ handwriting, the amount of hummus that lesbians consume, and how easy it is to impress her girlfriend who has only dated men before.
Following her, Just For Laughs Homegrown Comic Competition winner Nigel Grinstead did a set that was so funny that it would be nearly impossible to pick a favourite joke. He killed with his distinctive material about seeing a baby touch a random blind man’s face, his observations about people who are missing teeth, and his amazing one-liner about how pigeons are born.