'SNL': Michael Che Instantly Regretted This 'Weekend Update' Joke
This weekend, Michael Che dropped a harsh punchline during Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment that got more groans than laughs. Both Che and his co-host Colin Jost chuckled in awe as the live audience responded in horror to Che's off-handed joke. It was based on a true headline about a scuba diver trying to set a new world record.
"A deep-sea diver has announced plans to set a new record by living underwater for 100 days," Che read off the teleprompter. "'I feel like the record is longer than that,' said the people of New Orleans." There were some laughs in the live audience but also some very audible groans and gasps, to the point where both Che and Jost seemed to be caught off guard. Che even followed it up with: "I don't know why I thought that would make you laugh."
The sketch continued and Che did not touch on the joke again. The audience found plenty of more opportunities to groan later, and Che courted their mistrust with jokes about racism, sexism, obesity and COVID-19 as the night went on. In fact, social media seemed much more caught up in Che's jokes about Meghan Markle and the royal family than anything else he said this weekend.
"It was reported that the organizers of King Charles' coronation have officially invited Meghan Markle – and this is nice – at a starting salary of $19," Che said while a photoshopped image of Markle in a maid uniform. When the audience gasped at this punchline, Che feigned surprise and said: "What? That seems very generous, guys."
While Che was mocking the royal family for its treatment of Markle, some fans still felt it made her the butt of the joke. Many commented that they should not have edited Markle into a maid uniform, and complained that Che should have defended her in stronger terms rather than with sarcasm. On the other hand, some British commenters said that Che was out of line joking about the crown in general.
Both Che and Jost have reputations for telling "edgy" jokes and risking offense with their humor, but that has never seemed to slow them down. The duo took over "Weekend Update" together in 2014, and in 2017 he and Jost became co-head writers of the show overall. However, Che stepped down from that role last summer while still retaining his place on the cast.
Che has recently indicated to stand-up audiences that he will be leaving SNL soon – perhaps at the end of its current season. He has not explained why and these claims have not been widely reported, so his future remains unclear. So far, Jost has made no moves toward leaving the sketch show.