Michael Che has a knack for finding the humor in racially charged topics. And while that brand of comedy might appeal to his own sensibilities, sometimes his ideas are a little too raw for NBC and Saturday Night Live.
Che—who is the co-head writer on SNL alongside Colin Jost—revealed to Howard Stern during a recent interview that there were several of his “racially specific” sketch ideas that didn’t make the show. This included a concept where the Marvel Avengers accidentally kill an unarmed Black teenager.
“I think for obvious reasons there’s no way that’s going on,” Che said with a laugh. “The audience is looking at Saturday Night Live as Lorne Michaels’s show. They’re not looking at it as ‘Oh there’s this Black writer who is making this nuanced observation or whatever.’ It’s a little trickier.”
Fortunately for Che and his fans, the comedian found an outlet for that aspect of his comedic stylings. Che’s sketch show, That Damn Michael Che, recently aired on HBO Max. In the first season, he attacks the concepts of performative white activism, Black police officers, gun control, and other socially sensitive topics. Che told Stern that he got advice on how to approach these sketches and concepts from the comedy God himself, Dave Chappelle.
“Chappelle actually taught me this. … He was talking about when he did his show he would set it up in stand up and that way the whole sketch would just be punchlines,” he explained. “And I was like, ‘That’s genius.’ But, on SNL you can’t really do that because it’s a variety show so there is no person that’s really leading it in.”
Watch Michael Che’s full comments above.