Michael Che and Colin Jost: From StandUp to SNL and Being Friends
Hearing Michael Che and Colin Jost riff off of each other is quite a treat. Jost had invited Che to watch Game 5 of the NBA finals with him, but Che slept through the game. Turns of Che had just returned from D.C., so he has a good excuse. They’re naturally hilarious, and they’re best friends making for a great duo.
Read their chat below:
Now that you’re off for Summer, what are you up to? Are you enjoying Summer?
Jost: I’m definitely enjoying not having done anything for a few weeks. I’ve done some writing and I’m about to do some stand-up. It’s been nice to have a week of not doing anything.
You’ve been friends for the longest time. What do you recall about the other that made them stand out to you to become the buddies that you are today?
Che: I think comedy is a community or fraternity, where you work with each other a lot and you become friends without even realizing it. I think Colin, and I played at the same places a lot and we became friends. We had a lot of friends in common too. It was almost like having a comedy family, especially in New York when you have a big scene like this. We’ve worked with each other for almost seven years.
Jost: I think Che had more of a standup family because he’d been doing standup full time before SNL. I had more of an SNL family because I was doing that more. I was doing standup when I had breaks. Now that we have some version of both of those worlds, it’s nice because we can both pick up with anyone who has been on the show or anyone who is a standup and you can immediately jump into mid-conversation about something.
Was there a particular show or comedian who made you laugh as a kid that made you want to get into comedy?
Che: I liked Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny. He made me laugh. Anything that was heavy stereotype driven.
Jost: I liked Ren & Stimpy. It was really weird and violent. I liked The Simpsons a lot. I think we only watched cartoons.
That first time you stepped out onto the SNL stage, do you remember what it was like for both of you?
Che: I barely remember it. You know, I think for both of us, we’d both worked there for so long before we were cast members, so it’s a different experience than most cast members. For us, I think it was different.
Jost: It was going from writing to on camera. It was a weird thing because you already have this identity writing. You already have a job there. So, it was weird to do another job. I didn’t want to lose both jobs, so it was nerve-wracking at first.
When you’re doing Weekend Update, what is the process of putting it all together and chasing the news?
Che: We write on the show. The first part of the week is the body of the show and once the shape of the show has taken that form – that’s around Thursday, we’ll look at Update. We do have staff writers on Update writing throughout the week and so they have the ball rolling. We come together on Thursday night or Friday and start thinking about the segment.
One of my highlights was the family reunion and having Adam Sandler. What was that like?
Jost: For Sandler, it was a special one because he’d never come back and hosted which is unbelievable. For a lot of people, he was definitely the one they’d most want to come back and host. He’s just the best. Will comes back and you’ve never worked with them and you don’t know what they’re going to be like, but they’re great people, they’re so much fun.
Last year, you hosted the Emmys. Would you like to host the Emmys again? or maybe even the Oscars as they lacked a host.
Jost: [laughs] I don’t know if anyone is clamoring for the Oscars.
You never know. I’d like to see that. Why not?
Jost: You might be the only person. [laughs]
What about the Emmys?
Jost: [laughs] My answer is uhhh
Do you ever look up what people are saying about you online or just no because it’s too toxic?
Che: I don’t know if it’s that toxic. I don’t know a lot about toxic.
Jost: I try not to look at anything. Even if it’s a good article, there’s something in there that will make you upset. I’m too sensitive. I try not to look at anything, but it’s hard.
What films are you loving right now?
Che: I saw Ma and it was fun. I don’t get to see a lot of movies. The pageantry of going to the movies is fun. I think movies are unfairly judged because they’re so expensive. I remember when movies were five bucks and people were like, “That was fine.” Movies can’t be fine anymore. Everything has to be amazing. It’s fun to eat a tub of popcorn, and it’s fun. The experience is fun. Ma was fun. I enjoyed it. I love Octavia Spencer.
Jost: I’m excited to see Dark Phoenix. I finally got to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? I really loved it. The director is a friend of ours, and she’s married to a friend of ours who used to write on SNL. She did such a great job of it. Melissa is so great in it. That’s one I really loved.
Che: Mine is still Eddie Murphy forever. I’d love to see him do SNL again. I was super young when he did it. I’d love to see what he could do, and he’d be fun to watch.
Jost: Eddie Murphy is one I’d love to see do. Colbert would be good at it. He’s done sketch comedy and he’s such a great actor in comedies. I don’t know if he’d want to do it, but I thought he’d be great at it.
Che: I’d like to see Will Smith do it. He’d be fun. I’d like to see Denzel do it.
Jost: He’s never done it.
Che: He’s never done comedy. I don’t think?
Jost: He was originally theater. He’d be great.
Che: He did The Iceman Cometh.
Jost: I didn’t see it. Did you?
Che: Martin Lawrence. A host of black people. Oprah would be great. [laughs]