I’m about to speak my peace on a subject I am very passionate about. Being a “Saturday Night Live” fan is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s not for a majority of us. But for those who have been called to the church of Lorne Michaels, we have a heavy cross to bear. One that requires great patience, endurance, and the ability to call bullshit.
During last Saturday’s taping of my beloved SNL the Internet and several news sources noted that Colin Jost was no longer listed as a Head Writer in the end credits of the show. And so it has since been confirmed that, yes, Jost is just a writer for the show and a full player.
Upon first reading the news I was instantly angered. Because I knew what people would think. People would assume that Jost was not doing a good enough job as the boss and so Papa Lorne demoted him back to just a regular writer. OR people might guess that he’s become more concerned with being the one in front of the camera with his role on “Weekend Update” than with the overall running of the show. AND some very brave souls may even venture to the Internet to post a 20-second-thought-about tweet about how the show has been miraculously funnier since Jost stepped down.
Those are sweet, innocent ideas. But let an SNL fan explain:
For starters, Lorne for sure isn’t mad at Jost. When Lorne gets truly mad at you that means you get your ass kicked out of 30 Rock and you are not invited back. Which means, the move, much like Cecily Strong’s decision to stop doing Update after a year, was completely Jost’s idea. And that my friends is excellent news for us.
Why? Because he too realized that there was a huge problem going on with Update, but before he was unable to solve it because he was so busy doing Head Writer things. The Head Writer essentially makes sure there’s sketches ready to go on Saturday and that can be a huge task. Besides Lorne, those people are in charge. So if you thought Jost and Michael Che were half-assing every Weekend Update segment last year, well, you’re right. They were.
Let’s not forget, though, that Che is also a credited writer for the show. That means he’s writing other sketches for other cast members besides working on Update. If Update has been a mess arguably since Seth Meyers left the show then it’s because the two people (again, CHOSEN by Lorne) were being stretched too thin at the show. Not enough time and energy=crappy Update.
And yes, those of you who will jump to conclusions and say that SNL seems to have improved this season since Jost’s move, you are, to a point, correct. The show has been livelier than it’s been in the post-Seth era. But keep in mind it’s also because we’re zeroing in on an election and this time there’s a million Republican candidates, a Donald, and a Clinton. There’s plenty of material here and plenty of talented writers on staff to work with it. In fact, political satire is the one thing SNL always manages to keep afloat.
But Update has been light years better. A sharp improvement from the stuttering Che and timid Jost of last season. They seem…what’s the word? Confident maybe? It’s possible that Lorne sat them down for a chat. Or that they are humans and read what the people said on the Internet and knew that they needed to fix it, nurse our beloved Update back to health. I’m not saying it’s completely fixed yet, but it may just be on its way. There have been many a bright spot in the last three weeks and it appears there may actually be some real chemistry going on between the two anchors. I think the bromance thing the show was originally going for with the pairing may actually work. If we let them work it out with Jost’s newfound freedom, I think they just might make it. Call me an optimist if you must.
And it’s also important for me to note here that the two remaining Head Writers, Bryan Tucker and Rob Klein, are both in the exact position they need to be in. They’ve been at the show for years, worked under the mind of Sethy, and know how to write political satire and edgier material. Not that Jost couldn’t stand with the two of them (his stand-up is way dirtier than you’d expect coming from such a nice littler Harvard grad), but he was needed somewhere else. He has a different role at the show to fill.
And if Jost is looking for someone to defend him, I’m his girl.