Saturday Night Live promotes Colin Jost and Michael Che, the two anchors of Weekend Update, to co-head writers of the NBC series. Saturday Night Live, as it does most seasons, is having something of a middling year this year. The venerable NBC late night comedy show has had some very good episodes, most notably the last two episodes hosted by Saoirse Ronan and James Franco, and Tiffany Haddish’s recent hosting turn was a highlight, too. Larry David’s show was lackluster, though, Gal Gadot's was a letdown, and the less said about that David S. Pumpkins Halloween special, the better.
While SNL's political material this year has been a bit up and down, the show has done some pretty daring and successful work of late related to this fall’s near-constant revelation of sexual harassment scandals, and another highlight this season has been a pretty consistently funny Weekend Update desk. And now the two anchors are getting a promotion.
Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost have been appointed to co-head writers of the show, joining Kent Sublette and Bryan Tucker, who were already in that position, Deadline reported. Two more writers, Sudi Green and Fran Gillespie, have been promoted to the position of writing supervisor.
Jost, who joined SNL’s writing staff in 2005, actually had an earlier stint as the show’s head writer, from 2012 to 2015, although he gave up those responsibilities after taking over the Update desk in 2014. Che, previously a correspondent on The Daily Show, joined Jost the following year. Past head writers of the show have included such comedy luminaries as Michael O’Donoghue, Jim Downey, Adam McKay, Tina Fey and Seth Meyers.
The Jost/Che pairing on Weekend Update is somewhat divisive, as it’s something different for the Update desk, as the first pair of men to ever regularly share the desk, with a taunt-based dynamic that’s quite different from much of the segment’s tradition. But as is usually the case with SNL and other late night shows, it’s hard to tell which writers are responsible for which sketches, so even if you don’t care for, say, Jost’s smarmy frat boy persona on camera, for all we know he’s a brilliant, behind-the-scenes manager of the writers room.
There have been enough offbeat, witty sketches in the last two seasons that we can tell with little doubt the SNL writing staff has some true talent on it. It will be up to the newly structured management of the writers room to harness it.
Saturday Night Live returns Saturday December 16th at 11:30pm on NBC with host Kevin Hart.