SNL's New Weekend Update Team: Grade 'Em!

SNL_Jost_StrongSaturday Night Live head writer Colin Jost this week made his debut as coanchor of the NBC sketch series’ “Weekend Update” segment, alongside second-year cast member/freshman Updater Cecily Strong. What was your first impression of the new twosome?

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Jost is the third consecutive head writer to serve as a Weekend Update news reader, following Seth Meyers (who bid SNL adieu on Feb. 1 to go take over Late Night) and Tina Fey. (In that capacity, he has contributed to penning such recurring WU bits as Drunk Uncle and Strong’s The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.)

Going into this episode, I was a bit curious: Would Strong get to intro the segment, seeing as she boasts even a little seniority at the news desk? But while she got top billing during Weekend Update’s snazzy new credits, Jost was first to speak/welcome the audience. He then went on to sincerely express his appreciation for the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Seth, Amy, Tina, Chevy, Jane at al.

Strong seemed to get the lion’s share of this week’s material, and the better/longer of the interactions with the guests (Jebidiah Atkinson aka David Spade in old-timey clothes, versus Shaq and Barkley). The extremely genial, Sam Page-like Jost did fine for his first foray, but moving forward his voice needs to deliver his readings with greater urgency and vibrancy, a little less matter-of-factly. (He could also be heard chuckling at material when the camera was on Strong, which was mildly distracting.)

It’s merely their first night at a Weekend Update duo, but go on and share your own first impression of Strong and Jost.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. David4 says:

    Cecily is awesome.

  2. GuessWhat says:

    Jebidiah Atkinson should be co-host!
    He’s the only one who made me laugh so far tonight.

  3. Anyone’s better than Seth.

  4. Ryan T says:

    Colin Jost is like the lesser attractive brother of Aaron Tveit.

  5. christine says:

    Terrible. Cecily totally dominated the segment. This guy has no prescence. They have no chemistry. This whole episode has been pretty bad….though Bird Bible was kind of absurdly amusing

  6. TV Gord says:

    I think it’s too soon to judge. He was okay, but it will be easier to tell how good he is when he loosens up a little.

    As for the overall show, it wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t very good at all.

    • Sondra says:

      Agreed too soon to tell. Never a huge fan of Cecily but thought she was good. Was shocked to see Colin. Never heard of him and wondered where he came from. I thought he did fine for first time. Best part was hearing him laugh off camera. It showed he was genuine and having a great time.

      • Maggie says:

        Colin is the Head Writer, so he’s heard all of the jokes a number of times before the show airs. So why is he laughing?

        BTW, Colin has been with SNL for about 10 years as a writer.

  7. David4 says:

    The whole episode was beyond horrible.

  8. Luminosity says:

    With big shoes to fill, I thought it was a great first foray into Weekend Update. They did well together and, as with previous pairings, I’m sure they will get even better with time.

  9. Mike says:

    He laughed too much at Cecily’s jokes and didn’t make eye contact with the camera.

  10. Grant says:

    Slow start but I think he’ll warm up. Seemed more relaxed toward the end of the segment. Very easy on the eyes at least. Overall not a great episode. Audience seemed lethargic.

  11. Jaye says:

    Realistically, I think Cecily Strong could go it alone on Weekend Update. :-)

  12. Mac says:

    You could tell that he was extremely nervous. I think he’ll settle in there after a few months. Dude has serious potential, though

  13. Emgee says:

    The episode was just BAD overall.
    .
    Jim Parsons’ monologue was actually really good and Jebediah Atkinson on the weekend update was funny, but as for the rest of the episode…just horrible. The cold open wasn’t even good and didn’t make me laugh once.
    .
    I’m honestly surprised people are still willing to come out and host this crap. Jim Parsons is so much better than that. It was like watching Bob Saget on Full House.

  14. Tran 2.0 says:

    I think Cecily & Colin should do great together on Update in my opinion but we’ll see how it goes when Season 39 ends and possibly moving forward.

  15. Amber says:

    As far as laughing in between jokes goes, they all do that. I’ve noticed Seth, Cecily, Tina, Amy, Jimmy all do that. I think people notice Colin doing that more because he already had eyes on him for his first night. I think he will do fine

    • TV Gord says:

      The annoying thing is that they laugh at things that aren’t that funny, so you know it’s insincere. It’s as though they’re trying to pretend that they’re Harvey Korman on The Carol Burnett Show.

  16. John says:

    I guess it’s too early to tell. For his first show he did…okay. But is that a good thing? Going forward I think he’s gotta distance himself from being “Seth Meyers 2.0″ and have his own presence. This was a great opportunity to just come out of the gate swinging…really let people know who you are. Instead he played it safe and kept it pretty bland. I’m sorry but his delivery is pretty much exact the same as Seth Meyers. Hopefully he’ll learn quick to be himself, and have his own presence. And what’s this stuff about thanking everyone for the opportunity to be there? Your not hosting the tonight show. It’s weekend update, just do the bit and stop calling attention to it. It just made him look even more amateur to have to thank everyone to be there. You got the chair dude, you don’t have to do that on air. What you gotta do is make people laugh, but be yourself while doing it. Don’t rely on Seth’s delivery to comfort the audience. I’d rather fail as myself than succeed in copying someone else.

  17. Rosemary Kovacs says:

    Between the commercials that take up more air space than the show and the less than entertaining skits, I never make it from commercial to commercial anymore. It has not been worth giving up my desperately needed beauty sleep at this point.

  18. A. D. says:

    He was horrible…NO personality…should have just let Cecily do it by herself as she is fantastic in everything she’s in!

  19. Blank Slate says:

    Cecily has not yet fallen into a comfortable groove at the Weekend Update desk and she’s allegedly the ol’ reliable anchor?

    Jost may have writing skills but there was no camera likability. Neither actor caught fire.

    The show was as rotten as the stuff in Jim Parsons’ plastic Baggie.

  20. Adam says:

    I hope you were joking about david spade. If you aren’t your extremely wrong.

    • Bryan Wunsche says:

      Finally somebody noticed that. I don’t want to mispell his name but I know its not david spade.

      • Lisa says:

        The David Spade mention is a reference to his old “Hollywood Minute” bit on SNL, which was basically Spade making catty comments about the entertainment industry. So equating the character of Jebidiah Atkinson to “David Spade in old-timey clothes” is accurate.

  21. Robby Horine says:

    The guy is a clone of Fallon. That’s not a compliment. Dude, looks at the camera and pauses after every joke, to the point of mugging for the camera (just like fallon). And if he’s the ‘head writer’, then I’ll start to miss Tina Fey.

  22. Jay says:

    Awful. This show has reached critically bad territory.

  23. Julie says:

    Is it just me, or did Jost look a bit like a little boy playing dress up in his dad’s suit?

  24. Adam Lipkin says:

    If he’d stare at the camera instead of the teleprompter, I think he’d come across a lot better.

  25. Keith says:

    Cecily totally out shown Colin. It’s hard to believe that SNL had to go off the page for a co-host for Weekend Update. Colin brought the segment to its lowest level so far. I was worried about Cecily co-hosting, but she was great right out of the gate. SNL should let her do it along, or audition other known SNL faces.

  26. Bryan Caron says:

    I believe one of the main differences between Jost, Seth Meyers and Tina Fey is that, yes, Fey and Meyers were both head writers when they appeared as Weekend Update Anchors, but they were both SNL performers BEFORE they were head writers. Jost is only a writer, he is not a performer, and he should not be on camera… he made that pretty clear last night. Yes, he may warm up to the gig over time, but for something like live television (or live anything for that matter), you should have someone with some experience performing in front of an audience. Lorne Michaels made a very bad decision to put someone at the desk who (at least to my knowledge) has no background in performance.

    • Lisa says:

      Tina Fey was hired as a writer, not a performer. She was completely behind the scenes for a few years before becoming a WU anchor. I do agree about putting someone in the role that at least has a background in performance. Tina came to SNL from Second City, so she was comfortable in front of an audience. Jost’s pedigree is being president of the Harvard Lampoon, so his talents are better served off screen.

    • Not the public urinator you were thinking of says:

      Colin Jost has experience in standup comedy, so he does have at least a bit of experience performing in front of a live audience. I couldn’t tell you whether he was a great performer, but there’s some experience for you.

  27. Kim R says:

    Well I guess I’m alone but I loved WU. I thought he did great for his first time at the desk and I laughed out loud several times. :)

  28. The way he looked at the camera creeped me out. Don’t they practice these things and isn’t someone giving them pointers? Guess not. I think he’ll be ok once he figures out how to look at both the camera and the teleprompter without looking so obvioius.

  29. S. says:

    I’ll give Colin a pass on laughing for now. Amy Poehler and Jimmy Fallon both laughed through Weekend Update segments. I always found it distracting, particularly with Amy (and I love Amy) because she’d do it right after saying a punchline. Stephen Colbert can deadpan it 99.9% of the time. It’s just not the case that they can’t keep from laughing more than they do. No reason Colin can’t still do a great job even if he did keep laughing. The way he did it was just so supportive of the other people in the cast so it was sweet. We don’t know that he won’t make adjustments there, but it’s not like there’s a ton he’s gotta do ot change anything. Obviously the writing of Update will be pretty good if he’s had a hand in some popular characters like that. Taran killed it last night with his “reviews.”

  30. Tina B. says:

    It might be okay later, not sure about cecily, she has moments, but seems more like a fan of SNL than a player, she doesn’t play it cool like Tina and Amy. You can see when Cecily is nervous, The other guy, Colin, I don’t like that he is an unknown. Isn’t he just a writer on the show, never before been seen? I am a writer myself but there is a huge difference between writing where no one can see you or what you’re doing or the mistakes you make and acting where everything is on display. It should be a current SNL player, maybe Taran? or even one of the new cast members or maybe even Jay? But to stick a new comer like Cecily who is still awkward with an unknown is a big fail for me. Might tune out of SNL for a while….

    • let's watch some my little pony sometime says:

      “or maybe even Jay?”

      I completely agree with you, Tina B., that Jay Leno would have been better then Colin Jost. Leno would be better than Cecily or Seth or Fallon or Fey or any of those unfunny ulcers.

      Can we at least replace Cecily Strong with TARA Strong? Not just because she voices Twilight Sparkle in that pony cartoon….but also dem boobies…..

  31. David P. Shahan says:

    I think Cecily should get her own year or two as sole anchor. Colin did not exude any personality or humor.

  32. mercedes says:

    I think for a first time he did ok and that he’ll warm up into the role. I think the biggest problem was a lack of interaction between them. Some of the funniest parts of the update with the previous anchors was when they played off each other. With a little more interaction and once he loosens up, he’ll be fine.

  33. Katherine says:

    Poor material…I felt bad for Jim Parsons all the way around. Weekend Update really had bad material…it’s like they were waiting for laughs that never came.

    I would rather watch reruns than go through that painful experience again.

  34. “Jebidiah Atkinson aka David Spade in old-timey clothes” Um. Jebidiah is played by Taran Killam. David Spade hasn’t been on SNL since the 1990’s. :/

    • TV Gord says:

      To quote Lisa’s post from above: “The David Spade mention is a reference to his old “Hollywood Minute” bit on SNL, which was basically Spade making catty comments about the entertainment industry. So equating the character of Jebidiah Atkinson to “David Spade in old-timey clothes” is accurate.”

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      What TV Gord said. (Isn’t my first rodeo.)

  35. Mike from Houston says:

    I think Colin did ok for a first run but he needs to find his voice just as JImmy Fallon did in his first few times at the Update Desk. There’s a local sports anchor in the Houston TV Market, Randy McIlvoy, and he really reminds me of him, kind of stiff and no spontaneity there. But, he does have potential and he can grow, especially working with Cecily.

    As for Jim Parsons, he did well with what he was given, but he wasn’t given much to work with. It seemed as if he played the role of taken aback, mild-mannered persona because of the characters mistreating him three different times. The Peter Pan sketch should also be listed as one of the worst by the way, reminiscent of Amy Poehler’s “I only have ONE LEG” sketches. I mean, “Girlfriends Talk Show” would have been an up compared to that.

  36. Maggie says:

    I think Beck Bennett would have been a better choice for Weekend Update.

    • Pete says:

      i agree completely. He has that deep voiced deanpan delivery that would have been hilarious for Update. They blew it by not giving him the job

  37. AnnieM says:

    If he’s the new Head Writer, then the show is in a lot of trouble, b/c last night’s sketches were awful. :-p

    • Richmond Virginia says:

      I agree that was my thoughts exactly.

    • Kat. A. says:

      He’s been a head writer since he was 22. Fresh out of college, that’s just amazing to me. I honestly think he did a wonderful job. It’s not good to judge him the first time because live t.v. is intimidating so i don’t blame him for having the jitters. I’m excited to see how far he will go. As for his smile, what’s the big deal? Even if he heard the jokes already, the bulk of them have been written on Wednesday of the week. I remember Seth’s smile and Tina’s, so why should he get ripped on for it? Keep watching because it takes time to warm up to new things. He is funny and a great comic and he will go far. Great job Colin!

  38. jen says:

    He didn’t make eye contact with the camera! You can tell he was just reading the teleprompter. This season/cast of SNL is horrible.

  39. dude says:

    I feel like when Seth left, they should have just let Cecily have WU by herself. She’s got the presence to carry it. I don’t know what it is about WU and women where men like Seth Meyers can go for years helming it solo but when a female gets involved, they always feel like she needs a partner.

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  41. Stoner says:

    Cecily Strong isn’t funny. At all. She’s been terrible on Update.

  42. hillbill says:

    you people are all mental retards, SNL hasn’t been funny for years, and this guy SUCKED really bad, and Cecily or whatever the hell her name is SUCKED just as bad. Head Writer you say? Well that explains why this show has been pure garbage for so long.I try to like it but i just can’t it sucks so bad, if i want a comedy set with the backdrop of new york on a saturday night, ill stay in order a pizza and watch Remo Williams: the adventure begins.

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