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‘Saturday Night Live’ adds Sasheer Zamata to cast

Tue., Jan. 7, 2014

NBC’s comic institution “Saturday Night Live,” criticized recently for a lack of diversity, said on Monday that it was adding a black woman to its repertory cast when new episodes start again later this month.

Sasheer Zamata, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 and has worked with the New York Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, will join for the Jan. 18 episode, for which Drake is the host and the musical guest. Zamata, 27, is from Indianapolis.

The lack of a black woman among the 16 regular or featured players became an issue this season when the two black male cast members, Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah, commented publicly about it and made it known they would no longer dress in drag to portray black women.

French official OKs ban on comic

France’s interior minister said Monday that local officials have the right to ban shows on a national tour of a comic whose performances are considered anti-Semitic.

Hours later, Bordeaux’s mayor, former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, accepted the offer, making the wine capital the first French city to cancel a show by Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala ahead of the comic’s tour.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls’ decision to target Dieudonne was unusual because it touches on what might be viewed as free expression and because Dieudonne has performed for decades.

He is now well known for popularizing a hand gesture that’s been used by sports stars such as Nicolas Anelka. Valls has criticized the “quenelle” gesture as an “inverted Nazi salute.”

Merkel fractures pelvis while skiing

German Chancellor Angela Merkel fractured a pelvic bone during a cross-country skiing accident over the holidays and will have to cancel travel and rest at home for the next three weeks, her spokesman told journalists in Berlin on Monday.

Merkel, 59, fell during her annual ski vacation to eastern Switzerland’s Engadine Valley, which includes the St. Moritz resort, and initially thought she had just suffered a bruise, spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Merkel consulted her doctor Friday after returning to the German capital and was told she had a pelvic fracture.

The injury “makes it necessary for her to lie down a lot for three weeks and to use a walking aid,” Seibert said of the chancellor, who has experience on crutches after knee surgery three years ago.

The birthday bunch

Author William Peter Blatty is 86. Pop musician Paul Revere is 76. Singer Kenny Loggins is 66. Actress Erin Gray is 64. Actor David Caruso is 58. Talk show host Katie Couric is 57. Actress Hallie Todd is 52. Actor Nicolas Cage is 50. Actor Doug E. Doug is 44. Actor Jeremy Renner is 43. Actor Max Morrow is 23.


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