Michael Che says he wrote a sketch for Saturday Night Live about The Avengers killing an unarmed Black teenager by accident, which was rejected by the show. Che has been co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update segment since 2014, the first Black actor to be given this opportunity in the history of the show, and co-head writer since 2017. During his run on the show, Che has been known for a strong sense of humor that can walk the line of what can be said on live television, yet is always delivered powerfully and confidently. However, Che has been no stranger to the controversy fame can bring.
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Saturday Night Live, currently at the end of its 46th season, has taken great strides over the past few years to give more room for diverse voices. In the past, the show has been criticized for the lack of diversity as the series was written by predominantly, and in some years solely, white writers. Over the past few years, the show has taken steps toward diversifying the writer’s room, as well as the cast. As Che prepares for the next season, he continues to write comedy made for wider audiences.
While appearing on The Howard Stern Show, Che discussed an SNL sketch he wrote about the Avengers accidentally killing an unarmed Black teenager that didn’t make it to air. When Stern asked why it didn’t make the cut, Che explained that SNL simply wasn’t the right outlet for that idea. Che stated:
“For obvious reasons, there’s no way that’s going on the show. Something that’s like racially specific, the audience is kind of looking at Saturday Night Live as Lorne Michaels’ show. They’re not looking at it as a Black writer making a nuanced observation, so it’s a little trickier. On my show, I can get away with it because they know it’s me.”
A common criticism of Saturday Night Live is its ability – or lack thereof – to adapt. Some even wonder how long the series is really going to last. However, as Che pointed out, the show has changed and become more progressive during his tenure. He said:
“When I first got here it was just Kenan (Thompson) and Jay (Pharoah) in the cast, but there was no Black writers. If I were to write, or if a Black writer were 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 the air. [Sketches] that probably wouldn’t have gotten the benefit of the doubt then will get it now because there are more people in the room that [appreciate it]. That’s got to do with race, that’s got to do with gender, that’s got to do with youth. Having that diversity in the room makes the show more diverse.”
It helps, too, that SNL is not above making fun of itself, like when host Kerry Washington addressed the lack of Black women on the cast through a spot-on sketch in 2013. For those interested in seeing the sketch deemed too controversial for SNL, Che reworked it and presented it in an animated form on his new HBO Max series That Damn Michael Che. As Che continues to grow as a writer on SNL, hopefully he will be able to tackle and comment on more issues in a way that appeals to large audiences while staying true to his comedic voice. Saturday Night Live‘s 46th season comes to a close this Saturday, May 22nd, on NBC.
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Source: The Howard Stern Show
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