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Newest 'SNL' cast member hails from UVa.

Monday - 1/13/2014, 1:54pm  ET

zamata.jpg
This Feb. 11, 2008 photo provided by Cate Hellman Photography shows actress Sasheer Zamata. Zamata, 27, from Indianapolis, will join the cast of 'Saturday Night Live,' for the Jan. 18 episode. (AP Photo/Cate Hellman Photography)

WASHINGTON - The University of Virginia has churned out another comedienne who will star on "Saturday Night Live."

First, there was Tina Fey who made people laugh on SNL from 1997 to 2006. Now, there's Sasheer Zamata.

"I've had the honor of teaching Tina Fey and Sasheer," says Richard Warner, professor of acting at the University of Virginia.

He knows a star when he sees them -- he's taught aspiring actors for 30 years.

He says he doesn't see Zamata as an overnight success.

"She's worked very hard to get to where she's at," Warner says.

Zamata, who's 27 years old, headed to New York in 2009 after graduating from the university with a drama degree.

"She was very good at doing characters very early on. She never got discouraged when she wasn't cast," says Warner.

Instead, he says she went out and created her own work for herself and others.

"She was very, very instrumental in reviving the African-American student theater company called the Paul Robeson Players in Charlottesville. She was right at the center of the revival," Warner says.

Since 2009, Zamata's been performing in New York City at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

Zamata is a beautiful woman, says Warner, and SNL has a long line of beautiful, funny women.

"And the world loves that. We wish her best of luck and that she has a really fun time doing what she does best."

Zamata is scheduled to make her SNL debut Jan. 18.

Warner says the school wishes her the very best.

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