Che made the announcement while performing at a pop-up comedy show hosted in a hair salon in Minneapolis.
“This is my last year,” Che said, according to the Star Tribune. “You know my tie is a clip-on, right? What man wears a clip-on tie to work for eight years — that’s embarrassing.”
It wasn’t clear whether Che, a co-head writer for “SNL,” meant that he’s stepping down from “Weekend Update” but will continue to appear on the show, or whether he will no longer appear on camera at all but will remain a writer, or if he was talking about exiting “SNL” entirely. Cast member Cecily Strong formerly co-anchored “Weekend Update” and has remained a frequent sketch performer since leaving that spot. Representatives for NBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Che became the first Black co-head writer in “SNL” history in 2017, when he and Jost were promoted to lead the show’s writing team, according to Vice.
While the current incarnation of “Weekend Update” has won many fans, Che has come under fire over the years for a number of controversial jokes, including about Israel and the LGBTQ community.
In February 2021, the Anti-Defamation League called out Che after he made a joke regarding Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination policies.
“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of its population,” Che said during a “Weekend Update” segment. “And I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to the joke shortly afterward, calling it “deeply offensive” in a statement on Twitter.
Greenblatt said the joke’s premise was based on “factual inaccuracies” and played into “an antisemitic trope in the process.”
The Genesis 123 Foundation, a Christian organization, also said the joke was anti-Semitic.
“No, Mr. Che and ‘SNL,’ anti-semitism is never funny,” the organization said in a statement.
“President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military,” Che said during the segment. “It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy ‘don’t ask, don’t tuck,’ which is not good news.”
He also faced criticism after misgendering Caitlyn Jenner on “SNL” in 2019, calling her a “fella.”
Che currently has his own show, “That Damn Michael Che,” which was renewed for a second season on HBO Max, according to Variety.