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How Michael Che defied the odds and became the first Black head writer of SNL

NBC promotions announced Tuesday that theWeekend Update co-host Michael Che was promoted as a new head writer at SNL, according to Deadline.

Not only is this great for Che, given the prestige of the position, but more notably, it makes him the first Black head writer in the show’s history.

The move comes after a successful year for the sketch show, which, to their fortune, has had the folly of this administration for endless material.

While some critics of the move say Che and Jost’s absence from the news desk would be going counter to the momentum they built last season, it can also mean new opportunities for talent.

Che being the first black head writer at SNL is a major accomplishment but it wasn’t a position simply handed to him.

The New York native spent years hustling as a stand-up comedian, performing in comedy clubs seven nights a week, often in multiple venues each night until getting his first big break doing a set on The David Letterman Show in 2012.

After his bit on David Letterman, Che’s hard work now had the spotlight to match and as a result, Variety named him top 10 comic in New York and Rolling Stone top 50 funniest people in 2013.

That success led to landing a couple of guest appearances on The Daily Show, which had the legendary John Stewart at its helm at the time.


Though his late night appearances were still few and far between, Che’s performances were enough to land him a guest writing gig at SNL in 2013, which, as we now know, later led to the role he became renowned for on Weekend Update.

To the naked eye this promotion may seem heady and surprising but if you’ve followed Che’s story you’d see that it was the role that he was destined for and deserves to have.

In 2016, he solidified himself as a name to be reckoned when his Netflix stand-up special Michael Che Matters dropped on Netflix.

Che tackled everything from Black Lives Matter, pot legalization, and gun rights in what can be argued as one of that year’s best specials. He had a poised, cool stage presence and a delivery that made you eager for the punchline… sometimes it never came.

Besides being an instrumental part of why SNL nabbed nine statues at the 2017 Emmys, Che’s brilliance as a writer is evident and makes him more than the right choice to be at the head of the SNL writing team.

The diversity Che immediately brings will inevitably influence the culture of the show and will have his ideas at the top of the food chain.

According to Deadline, season 43 of SNL is the second most-watched season in nine years. With Che as a head writer, it will be interesting to see what new heights the show can reach next season.