Michael Che just completed his seventh season as Weekend Update co-anchor on “Saturday Night Live,” where he also serves as one of the head writers. While the long-running variety series is a good channel for his creativity, this year he also created his own sketch show on HBO Max called “That Damn Michael Che,” where he gets to express his unfiltered perspective on the world. “There’s a lot of jokes and ideas that I have that it’s hard to execute on ‘Saturday Night Live’ without the proper context,” says Che in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “This was something that I wanted to lock in and try to do a whole piece, just try it and have some fun with it.” Watch the full interview above.
“That Damn Michael Che” is a sketch comedy series that tackles a new theme every week, from love to racial profiling, as seen through the comedian’s irreverent viewpoint. Che enjoys writing sketches that are highly relatable to the audience, like in episode 2 where he gets dumped and doesn’t quite know why. “It’s easier to write because you just have to draw from reality,” admits Che. “It’s already funny that you’re talking about it, so a lot of the jokes don’t even have to be crafted. Just the fact that you’re willing to say it is fun.”
As for “SNL,” Che has developed strong chemistry with his fellow Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost. It isn’t always easy to communicate that chemistry onscreen, considering how the setup of Weekend Update limits their ability to interact. “For us, we had to find time in between jokes, maybe he says a joke and I roll my eyes,” explains Che. “That’s how you find the chemistry where we would react to each other’s jokes, a simple thing like that where people will say, ‘That’s chemistry,’ but it took us about two years to figure out we could even do that.”
One of the most highly anticipated segments every year on “SNL” is the bi-annual tradition of Che and Jost writing inappropriate jokes for the other person to say on air. The segment always garners big reactions from the audience, because the anchors are reading them for the first time and we are getting their live reactions to them. “It’s the best use of what ‘Saturday Night Live’ does and what’s exciting about ‘Saturday Night Live,'” argues Che. “I always think fun is contagious, especially for comedy, so we really enjoy it and I think the audience buys in because they’re watching two people play.”
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