For more than a decade, The Daily Show has challenged Saturday Night Live‘s longstanding position as the most impressive comedy talent pipeline on television, graduating Ed Helms, Steve Carell, Rob Riggle, Rob Corddry, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver, but now the late night series has gone a step further, poaching a member of Saturday Night Live‘s writing staff to their lineup.That writer is Michael Che, an up and coming stand-up comedian who recently appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to deliver the show’s first late night performance. Che will begin work as a correspondent on The Daily Show in early June, right around the same time that his new half-hour comedy special airs on Comedy Central.
A relative newcomer who made his stand-up debut at an open mic night in 2010, things have been seemingly on the fast track for Che since the fall of 2012 when he made stand-up appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Special and signed up with Lorne Michaels’ Above Average YouTube channel – a development that surely helped get Che into Saturday Night Live as a guest writer before coming on full-time this season.
It’s mildly surprising that Che would leave Saturday Night Live after a solid season (Che wrote or co-wrote “M&M Store” and “12 Days Not a Slave”), but it’s entirely possible that he simply took a look at his options and determined that legitimate time in-front of the camera seemed like a safer bet with The Daily Show.
After all, even if he had been elevated to an onscreen role as a featured player with Saturday Night Live next season, he still wouldn’t be guaranteed the same platform as he’ll likely have with The Daily Show. And if Che does transition into the next big star to come through The Daily Show, any slowness in recognizing Che’s potential as an onscreen force will surely haunt the Saturday Night Live powers that be.
As for the thought process behind this move for The Daily Show and Comedy Central, it seems like a no-brainer. With Oliver out the door and Colbert on the way, Comedy Central needs to add to their bench.
Adding a writer and performer of Che’s caliber to a list of new hires (Daily Show rookie correspondent Jordan Klepper) and possible hires (both underground comic star Chris Gethard and Hannibal Buress have pilots in consideration with the network) seem like steps toward insuring that the network keeps its footing in the future. Now all they have to do is find someone to take over for Colbert, no big deal.
The Daily Show airs on Comedy Central Monday through Thursday @11pm.