Saturday Night Live‘s longtime Weekend Update host Michael Che is set to star in an untitled sketch comedy series for HBO Max, the streamer announced Tuesday.
Each episode will follow a theme or incident, (police brutality, unemployment, falling in love, etc.), and use sketches and vignettes to illustrate what it feels like to experience this from a black vantage point. It’s less about being “right,” and more about being honest, even at the risk of being controversial — something Che has never shied away from in the past.
Che’s six-episode series will be produced by Universal TV and Broadway Video, with Che executive producing alongside Lorne Michaels and Erin Doyle. With Universal TV producing and Che’s own ties to NBC’s long-running sketch series, you’d think that Peacock would’ve made a play for this new show, but perhaps execs didn’t want to step on SNL‘s toes, or felt that Che’s racially-themed comedy would be too risqué for a nascent streamer built on the back of future re-runs of The Office.
Personally, I’ve always liked Che’s sense of humor and admired his somewhat brusque demeanor, even when he uses his Instagram platform to go after one of my favorite comedy journalists, Seth Simons. He’s a funny, interesting voice who doesn’t self-censor at a time when comedy as a whole is at a crossroads of sorts. That Che works for the country’s highest-rated sketch comedy series and is proceeding with his own sketch series signals to me that he’s preparing to leave SNL after the upcoming election — just like Colin Jost. I mean, if he can’t get these kinds of sketches on SNL, it may just be time for him to do his own thing.
“I’m really excited to be working on this show with HBO Max. It’s a project I’ve been thinking about for a while and we have a lot of sketches we want to shoot, so please wear your masks so that we can go into production,” said Che.
“Che is an amazing talent and comic voice and, of course, another opportunity to collaborate with Broadway Video and my friend Lorne is an added benefit,” said HBO Max’s chief content officer Kevin Reilly.
“Michael brings a distinct comedic perspective as he illustrates the uncomfortable truths across multiple topics. We look forward to sharing his unique vision and necessary point of view with our audiences,” added HBO Max’s Suzanna Makkos.
Expect some heavy cast turnover following the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live, as both Jost and Pete Davidson are poised to exit in the coming months, while Aidy Bryant has a hit Hulu show, Kenan Thompson‘s new NBC show has been ordered to series, and Kate McKinnon is a legit comedy star. Heck, even Mikey Day is making a killing as a screenwriter.