‘SNL’ Weekend Update Shakeup: ‘The Daily Show’s Michael Che Replacing Cecily Strong
We'd known that 'SNL' would need some additional fine-tuning after shedding some of the dead weight of season 39, but where writer Colin Jost had replaced "Weekend Update"s departed Seth Meyers alongside Cecily Strong, an unexpected shakeup has emerged. Strong will step down from the Update desk, remaining an 'SNL' regular, while 'Daily Show' correspondent and 'SNL' writer Michael Che will become Jost's new co-anchor.
News of the surprising change emerges from the New York Times, who clarified that Cecily Strong had requested more actual sketch work in the coming 40th season, while standup comedian Che provided exceptional chemistry with personal friend and co-writer Jost in a Weekend Update test run. 'SNL' creator Lorne Michaels had attempted a number of combinations on the Weekend Update desk to correct the lull left in Seth Meyers' wake (most would argue that Cecily Strong had actually carried Jost in the season's latter half), offering a few explanations for the change:
Michael is a strong writer, and he’s really funny. It’s always difficult to make changes and make ‘Update’ different from what’s gone before...It struggled to find an identity last season, because what had come before had been pretty brilliant.
This is about a new era, what feels appropriate for now. That’s why we did a lot of combinations and tests, and this is kind of where we came out.
For his part, Che had rather notably been added as a 'Daily Show' correspondent in April, appearing in segments as recently as August 26. It remains unclear if Che's 'SNL' work will prevent future 'Daily Show' appearances, while his new Weekend Update position also marks the first time in which two men have anchored the desk.
We're certainly distressed to see Cecily Strong taken off the desk, particularly considering the admirable work she's done against Jost's lacking charisma, though it seems at least some change proved necessary from the prior season. Michaels added that 'SNL''s 40th season may field a few more additions in the coming weeks, while the long-running NBC sketch comedy recently announced 'Guardians of the Galaxy' star Chris Pratt as its September 27 premiere host, accompanied by Ariana Grande. Comedian Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5 will follow the subsequent week, while recent rumors also placed iconic alum Bill Murray as a potential host.
We've included some of Cecily Strong and Colin Jost's highlights below, but what say you? Are you disappointed to see Strong taken off Weekend Update in favor of Michael Che? Who do you think should host the weekly segment as 'SNL' solidifies its new lineup?