On Tuesday, Michael Che
discussed "racially specific" sketch ideas that don't make the cut for "Saturday Night Live
," including one in which Marvel
's fictional Avengers accidentally kill an unarmed Black teenager.
“I think there’s no way that’s going to be on the show for obvious reasons,” Che, co-head writer
,” told radio host Howard Stern
Another skit featured the first Black man to boo Jackie Robinson, widely regarded as Major League Baseball
's first Black player.
“Something racially specific, the audience is kind of looking at ‘Saturday Night Live’ as Lorne Michaels’ show,” Che explained, noting the iconic NBC
show’s “variety” and “mainstream” elements.
“They aren't looking at it as, 'Oh, this is a Black writer making this nuanced observation or whatever,'" he added.
Click here to watch the interview:
“On my show, they know it's me, so I can get away with it,” Che said of his new HBO Max
series, "That Damn Michael Che."
“But on a mainstream show, a lot of the time, even Black people
are like, ‘Well, why are they doing that thing? What do they mean by that?’ It’s a little bit more, ‘What are you making fun of here?’ We don’t really get the benefit of the doubt for something that loaded.”
However, Che believes that increased diversity
in the "SNL" writers room has helped to change that.
“When I first arrived here, it was just Kenan (Thompson) and Jay (Pharoah) in the cast, but there were no Black writers,” Che explained. “If I were to write, or a Black writer were to write, something that’s specific to Black humor
, an all-white staff might not get the joke, so it’s deemed not funny
, so it doesn’t go on air.”
Things that "probably wouldn't have gotten the benefit of the doubt then" will now, Che says, because there are more Black writers in the room.
It “fuels an energy
in the writing session where people go, ‘Oh yeah, now I get it, now it's funny,'" according to Stern.
“And that has to do with race, gender
, and youth,” Che explained, adding that having that diversity in the room makes the show more diverse.