Saturday Night Live comedian Michael Che has a long history of making controversial comments throughout his career, long before he blasted a media critic for a column about his "Weekend Update" co-host Colin Jost.
Che, 35, joined SNL back in 2013 before leaving to take a brief tenure at The Daily Show. He returned to the SNL fold in September 2014 to host "Weekend Update" with Jost, and has been there ever since. Che is also the co-head writer on the show and hosted the 2018 Emmy Awards with Jost.
SNL airs Saturdays on NBC at 11:30 p.m. ET. The next new episode airs on May 4, with Adam Sandler hosting and Shawn Mendes performing.
Scroll on for a look at Che's past controversial comments.
Street Harassment Joke
In a 2014 Instagram post, Che joked about a video showing a woman getting dozens of catcalls from men while walking around New York City for 10 hours. The tasteless joke got plenty of Instagram and Twitter followers riled up.
"i wanna apologize to all the women that ive harrassed (sic) with statements like 'hi' or 'have a nice day' or 'youre beautiful,'" Che wrote at the time, notes HuffPost. "i cant imagine what that must feel like. the closest thing I've experienced is maybe when a girl recognizes me from tv and they say things like 'AHHHH!! OH MY GOD!! SNL SNL SNL!! TAKE A PICTURE!! TAKE A PICTURE!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! WHATS YOUR NAME AGAIN?! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! WAIT SAY SOMETHING FUNNY!!' but even that is nothing like the harrassment (sic) of having a complete stranger tell me to 'smile.'"
Well that is truly bizarre. To say "People harass me and I don't love it so women should get over it" is like...such a disconnect. How weird— BAD WITH MONEY BOOK 🏳️🌈 (@gabydunn) October 29, 2014
Che later followed that up with, "i wanna apologize for my last apology. sometimes i forget that i belong to all of you now, and that any thought i have should be filtered through you, and receive ur approval. its tough, because im used to taking risks and finding humor in places of discomfort. but thats all over, cause i have a job on tv. and if i say the wrong thing youll see to it that its taken away. so the next time i have a silly thought, ill giggle to myself, keep my mouth shut, & post a picture with my arm around a more famous person i met somewhere."prevnext
Response to Criticism of Caitlyn Jenner Jokes
Last year, The Daily Beast's Samantha Allen wrote a wide-ranging essay about how comedians have to stop using transphobic jokes and making fun of Caitlyn Jenner. The piece noted that Che used the slur "tranny" in his Michael Che Matters special.
love too solicit targeted harassment! pic.twitter.com/6AYCzL2sHc— Seth Simons (@sasimons) March 16, 2018
Che did not take the criticism lightly, lashing out on his Instagram Story.
"The way I see it, both Michael Che and I were doing our jobs: he recorded a stand-up special and I wrote an article. Suffice it to say, his job is way better than mine," Allen wrote in a response to Jezebel. "As for the email, I can confirm that I did not receive it in either my inbox or my spam folder. I found out that I was featured in his Instagram story when I started getting emails from his fans."prevnext
Dating App Etiquette
In a bizarre incident in 2017, Married to the Mob founder Leah McSweeney said she found Che on a dating app and tried to connect with him. She went on her podcast to call him "arrogant," "so rude," "disrespectful" and "a D-list celebrity."
The New York Post later obtained screenshots of texts between McSweeney and Che between late 2016 and early 2017 that contradicted McSweeney's claims.
On Jan. 2, 2017, Che put an end to the texting before they ever met in person.
"Do u ever want to meet up? Or r we just gonna text each other randomly until eternity? Well I did think it was odd u kept saying ur fat," she wrote to him.
"I [don't] wanna meet up. You text really strange declarations looking for a reaction, and I don't wanna know what's the real life equivalent of that," he replied.prevnext
Seemingly Defending Louis C.K. Performing Again
In Summer 2018, comedian Louis C.K. resurfaced and began performing after he confessed to sexually harassing women. Che appeared to defend C.K. going back to work.
"i really don't know. i haven't talked to him in a while," Che wrote on Instagram. "i don't know any of his accusers. i don't know what he's done to right that situation, and it's none of my business. but i do believe any free person has a right to speak and make a living."
Che responded to the criticism of his comments in an NPR interview.
"I truly think him going onstage and not addressing anything was insane," Che said. "I don't fault the attempt of making it right; I do fault the execution of not making it right. I think everybody has the right to defend themselves. Everybody has the right to take the opportunity to clarify or apologize or make any bad situation right, but when you don't do it, you can't — it's indefensible."prevnext
Michael Che vs. Boston
Before the 2017 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, Che said he hoped the team from the "blackest city in America" beats the team from the "most racist city I've ever been to." Che never felt the need to apologize, and addressed the controversy in a performance in Boston a few months later.
According to a Boston Globe review of the show, Che told the audience "I had no idea that was news to you" when he stepped on stage. He later mentioned getting tweets, e-mails and even handwritten letters from people upset with his comments.
"And when I say 'people,' I mean 'white guys,'" he said.
At the Emmys last year, Che continued to take swipes at Boston.
"I love Cheers," Che said. "But you're telling me they made a show about an all-white sports bar in 1980s Boston, and not one black dude walked in, saw everybody, and then walked right back out immediately? I would have."prevnext
Che vs. 'SNL' Critic
After SNL's "Black Jeopardy" sketch aired, writer Jenn M. Jackson, who was unverified at the time, criticized the show for its treatment of black people in March 2014. Even though Che was not tagged, he still replied, telling Jackson to "get a life" and called her criticism "adorable." The situation forced Jackson to block people who were tweeting at her.
"I didn't expect it to because I wasn't interacting with him," she told Jezebel. "The way that Michael Che in particular goes after certain writers, [and] I do think I'm certain that I don't see him going after men in the same way, I do think is a way to bully people on the internet."prevnext
Che Deletes His Twitter Account
After the 2014 controversy with his jokes about the catcall video, Che decided to delete his Twitter account. As Jezebel notes, in 2015, he harassed media critic Jennifer Pozner after she criticized his stand-up performance, even though she did not tag him.
"I don't like Twitter, because no one is as angry as they say they are and no one is as happy as they say they are," Che explained to NPR. "It's just kind of this land of hyperbole. I have a platform. We go on TV and we're lucky enough to be able to tweet to a camera. It's not for me. I just don't like the way it makes people feel. I don't like the way it makes people gang up on other people — justly or not, it's just uncomfortable. I don't like it at all. It's just a cesspool of everybody just yelling at each other. Anger and extreme joy are the only voices that get heard on Twitter."prevnext
Che vs. Uproxx Writer Steven Hyden
The latest controversy for Che stems from his response to an Uproxx op-ed by Steve Hyden about how Colin Jost is not exactly a beloved member of the SNL cast. While the piece was not that harsh, Che went on an NSFW rant in now-expired Instagram Story posts that have since been preserved through screenshots shared on Twitter.
Che called Hayden a "mediocre a– white dude." After seeing the backlash to his comments, Che wrote, "never understand why when they s– on people its criticism. But when i s– on them its harassment...?"
Dear Michael Che, I don’t feel harassed. Your bit about me having sex with dogs was hilarious. Have a nice Easter. Your pal, Steve. pic.twitter.com/pjBKgRndS0— Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) April 20, 2019
As for Hyden, he thought the situation was surreal, especially the part where Che accused him about having sex with dogs.prev