Saturday Night Live star Michael Che revealed on Instagram Thursday he is paying rent for all 160 tenants at the New York City apartment building where his late grandmother once lived. Earlier this month, Che said his grandmother died from complications of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. The comedian also paid tribute to his grandmother during Saturday's unique SNL episode, filmed by the cast members at their homes.
"It's crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can't even work," Che wrote on Instagram. "Obviously, I can't offer much help by myself. But in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I'm paying one month's rent for all 160 apartments in the NYCHA building she lived in. I know that's just a drop in the bucket, so I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, at the very least."
One of Che's followers asked him why his grandmother was living in public housing if he was so popular. He quickly explained that she moved out of public housing in 1990. "LOL I guess that's a fair question," Che replied. "But she hasn't lived in public housing since like 1990, when she moved down south. But that building is very significant in my family's history, so that's why I chose it. I guess I just worded it weird."
On April 6, Che published a now-deleted Instagram post, in which he said his grandmother died. "I'm doing OK, considering," the former Daily Show contributor wrote. "I'm obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone. But I'm also happy she's not in pain anymore. And I also feel guilty for feeling happy. Basically, the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has losing someone very close and special. I'm not unique, but it's still scary."
Che briefly mentioned his grandmother's death on Saturday Night Live, telling "Weekend Update" co-anchor Colin Jost that working last week helped him feel a little better. This inspired Che to ask Jost to join him in joke-swapping, which hilariously ended with Jost reading about a college professor using a racial slur during a class. Then, Che dropped a hilarious fact just before the segment ended. His grandmother never watched SNL!0comments
"My grandmother has never seen this show, I just wanted you to do that," Che told Jost through a smile. "She woke up at alike 4 a.m. to pray! You think she was watching Saturday Night Live? That made this night perfect, man, thank you. For 'Weekend Update,' I'm Martha's grandbaby!"
"It's obviously not gonna be what you're used to seeing from our show," Che wrote in another now-deleted Instagram post about the special at-home SNL episode. "But it could be fun for whoever it's fun for. It was honestly skeptical about doing it at first, but having something else to think about this week really helped the days go by for me. And also, seeing my cast mates and the staff made s— feel quasi-normal again. And if we can do the same for you with something silly and dumb, then damn it, let's give it the ol' GED try!"