There have been a lot of questions rearing their ugly heads in the months leading up to the Presidential election and the days following that election. A lot of these question revolve around late night TV programs and what their role is. While some late night hosts--Samantha Bee and Seth Meyers in particular--have opted to go hard on the political commentary, other shows have tried to be entertainment for the everyman--no matter what they think politically. Sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live has taken flack for being too leftist by some and for being too right-skewing by others. Recently, "Weekend Update" host Michael Che spoke out about his feelings regarding the criticism the show has gotten from individuals on both sides.
Well, first of all, this kind of era is such a Mean Girls mentality. Mean Girls meaning the movie, I'm not saying that only girls are mean. But Mean Girls in that, if we don't like this guy, anything you say in his favor even slightly, you can't sit with us anymore. And it's ridiculous! We're not being honest. Also, this show is not on for liberals. This show is on for America. We play 50 states. And people who voted for Donald Trump love this show. He hosted this show! We have to do jokes about the whole thing. We are not on any side. If aliens landed and they wanted a crash course of what this year has been like, we want them to be able to watch this show and get a rounded view of everybody. It's not for the left and it's not for the right. You'll read a review and one review says we were too left. Another review will say we were too right. That makes me happy because that means we went down the middle.
That's a pretty lengthy quote, but what it boils down to is that Michael Che and many of the other individuals who help with the creative direction of Saturday Night Live feel like the show is at its core about comedy and poking fun at our individual beliefs and biases. That's why one week the series may have Donald Trump on to host and another week the show might incense Donald Trump to the point where he tweets out that the series isn't funny at all. Other Presidential hopefuls, from Hillary Clinton to even the likes of Ben Carson some months past, had to deal with caricatures being made of their opinions and personalities, as well. Last weekend, the series featured a sketch about Hillary supporters getting upset about the election loss and this week the show brought back Alec Baldwin to play Donald Trump, indicating it is at least trying to play things down the middle, even if that isn't clear for everyone during every single episode.
The lengthy interview with Uproxx touches more upon the subject, as the writer spends time pushing Michael Che on the show's perspective and various choices this season, but the "Weekend Update" host simply says that a lot of times people disagree about certain jokes or even whether or not Donald Trump should have hosted. At the end of the day, Che only has his own opinion on the matter. He also makes another point about the late night series that's worth noting:
If after 42 seasons people still feel the need to write about it and talk about it and get angry? If we are in a position to let them down, that means we are doing our jobs. The show still matters to people. When they don't give a fuck about what we're saying, then we are in trouble. But when they are still, 'I can't believe they said that!,' then that means we are still doing good. The show matters. The show still matters and that's important.
SNL has gone through ebbs and flows through the years, and the cast and writing team is constantly in flux. This year, the show lost a couple of really talented performers in Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah, but I think it's pretty telling that the show has continued to produce content that has people talking, whether because Tom Hanks is playing "Black Jeopardy!" or Alec Baldwin is on as Donald Trump. Season 42 has been a good one for the late night comedy sketch series, and we can only hope that continues as the show heads into 2017.
To hear more from Michael Che, check out Michael Che Matters on Netflix starting November 25. And find out what else Netflix has coming up with our premiere schedule.