Amy Poehler may have joked that she was so relaxed days before hosting the Golden Globes because she was "heavily medicated," but the Saturday Night Live alum was very enthusiastic while discussing the show's recent hires at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday.
Africa-American comedienne Sasheer Zamata, who is a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater co-founded by Poehler, was added as a castmember earlier this week. Additionally, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones joined the NBC sketch comedy show as writers.
"I have not gotten a chance to say congratulations officially to her," Poehler told reporters during a panel for her new Comedy Central series Broad City, which she executive-produces. "We all know Sasheer and her work. UCB is really proud to be associated with her. She was part of our diversity program many years ago. She's an awesome performer and so congratulations to her. And congratulations to LaKendra and Leslie for being hired as well. It's awesome to see all those new faces at SNL."
The new hires come several months after the show's lack of diversity became a hot-button issue when the show added six Caucasian male comics over the summer. In an interview with TVGuide.com in October, Kenan Thompson blamed the show's diversity issue on a lack of quality black female comedians, rather than on showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series. "It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson said at the time. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."
After much debate and the show's attempts to mock its own lack of diverse ethnicities, Michaels organized a talent search in multiple cities in December to find a female to add to the mix. Zamata was one of 12 who received callbacks, and she will be a featured player when she makes her SNL debut on Jan. 18.
As for Poehler's upcoming gig hosting the Globes alongside Tina Fey, the Parks and Recreation star was shy to spoil any of the fun they have in store for the audience. "We're getting excited to do it," she said. "It's a good combination of excited and nervous, which aren't that different of emotions physically. I'm really excited to be back and gearing up, ready to go."
The Golden Globes air Sunday at 8/7c on NBC. Broad City premieres Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.