The 44th season of “Saturday Night Live” (“SNL”) launches Saturday (September 29) with a notable new addition to the cast: comedian and actress Ego Nwodim.


Deadline reported on Friday (September 21) that Nwodim graces the Studio 8H stage as a featured player, as opposed to the more senior and consistent repertory players like Leslie Jones, the cast’s only other Black woman. The Baltimore native’s page on the Upright Citizens Brigade’s (UCB) website notes that she frequently performs with several of UCB’s improvisational comedy troupes, which are a common pipeline for “SNL” cast members and writers. Nwodim also performed a sold-out one-woman show, “Great Black Women…and Then There’s Me.

Watch Nwodim in the following digital sketches:

 

Deadline adds that Bowen Yang, an Asian-American comedian and co-host of the “Las Culturistas” podcast, joined “SNL” as a staff writer for this season.

SNL” has encountered many critiques over the years, including from former cast members, for its erasure of the few Black women and Asian Americans it features. Essence identified Nwodim as only the seventh Black woman to join the “SNL” cast since its inception in 1975.