It’s no secret that Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” skit has been on a decline for the last few seasons – namely after Seth Meyers took over on his own. Though he’s a funny guy, Meyers needed someone to balance out his appealing smugness, and so they gave him a co-anchor, newer cast member, Cecily Strong. And while she would never replace Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, or Jimmy Fallon in anyone’s mind, she did pretty well, growing with each episode. Then when Meyers left, Strong was saddled with head writer Colin Jost, and the “Weekend Update” segment continued on its downward slide. So it’s no surprise that Lorne Michaels and company are trying to reverse that trend by switching things up and bringing in Michael Che, a writer for SNL.
I think it’s great that Che’s being brought on in front of the camera. But I think the folks behind this decision made the wrong one – if it was a choice between Jost and Strong, I can’t believe that it was Strong who was given the ax. Jost, a talented writer, has yet to make an impression in front of the camera. In fact, he’s kind of a blah nonentity, and it was up to poor Strong to try and lift the sketch – and though she never really succeeded, it was easy to see that of the two, she was the stronger presence and the funnier performer.
Also, getting rid of Strong means that for the first time in a long time that the show moved away from the male-female dynamic that worked for so long. Still, the Amy Poehler/Tina Fey combo worked, so maybe Che and Jost will find a rhythm and chemistry that’ll bring out the best in the latter.
Still, I can’t help but think that Strong would’ve been able to grow into the role and make her mark. It’s a shame…