Ellen Cleghorne – “Mermaid”
This Saturday Night Live alum brings her brash sense of humor to “Mermaid”, recorded live at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Her hilarious segments include: Sights and Sounds of My Gym, The Time I Met Oprah and The Problem with Braids. A bright, inventive sketch player and comic actor whose portrayals of such characters as Zoraida, the in-your-face NBC page, and Queen Shaniqua, the Afrocentric critic, on four seasons of “Saturday Night Live” (1991-95) put her on the upward career tract. Ellen Cleghorne was raised in the projects of Brooklyn, and after earning a degree at Hunter College on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, began performing standup in clubs throughout New York City. She also performed with “The Family, Inc.”, a troupe which performed mainly at prisons, and appeared in two productions with the New York Shakespeare Festival, “Marriage Proposal,” and “Looking for Tomorrow.” Although she had been featured on several episodes of Keenen Ivory Wayans‘ variety series “In Living Color” (Fox) in the early 1990s, Cleghorne was noticed by the producers of “Saturday Night Live” while performing at a New York comedy club and was asked to join the show in 1991. During the course of four seasons, she not only created original characters, but offered dead-on impersonations of Anita Hill, Whoopi Goldberg, and singer Natalie Cole, among others. She withdrew from “SNL” to headline her own sitcom, the short-lived “Cleghorne” (1995-96), playing a single mother coping with daily life on the fledgling new network, The WB.