The jokes on Saturday Night Live have always rode the thin line between on-point versus overboard, and comedian Michael Che sheds a little light on how dark some sketches ideas could get on the cutting room floor in the SNL writer’s room.
Che, who’s Weekend Update stint became popular for its intentionally racist joke-swapping segment with “co-anchor” and SNL cast mate Colin Jost, gave the revelation while on The Howard Stern Show podcast. Making a point about “racially specific” sketch ideas that don’t make the cut to go on-air, Che described one that saw Marvel superheroes The Avengers accidentally killing an unarmed Black teenager.
“I think for obvious reasons, there’s no way that’s going on the show,” Che said to Stern, further adding on later in the interview, “When I first got here, it was just Kenan (Thompson) and Jay (Pharoah) were in the cast, but there was no Black writer. If I were to write, or if a Black writer was to write, something that’s specific to Black humor, an all-white staff might not get the joke so it’s deemed not funny, so it doesn’t go on air.”
“Something that’s like racially specific, the audience is kind of looking at ‘Saturday Night Live’ as Lorne Michaels’ show,” explained Che while comparing the more mainstream NBC program, also adding, “They’re not looking at it as, ‘Oh this is a Black writer who is making this nuanced observation or whatever.”
Peep the full clip from Michael Che’s visit to The Howard Stern Show below, and let us know if you think there’s such thing as “too far” when it comes to comedy:
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