The coronavirus pandemic claimed the life of Michael Che’s grandmother Martha, who he honored during this weekend’s at-home edition of Saturday Night Live.
Earlier this week, the Weekend Update revealed that his grandmother died after she was diagnosed with COVID-19. “I’m doing OK, considering,” he wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post. “I’m obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone. But I’m also happy that she’s not in pain anymore. And I also feel guilty for feeling happy. Basically the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has losing someone very close and special. I’m not unique. But it’s still scary. I don’t know if I’ll lose someone else to this virus. I don’t know if I’ll be lost to this virus. Who f—king knows?”
Then, in a follow-up post that he shared just hours before Saturday’s broadcast, Che admitted that he had his doubts about SNL starting back up during an ongoing pandemic. “I was honestly skeptical about doing it at first, but having something else to think about this week really helped the days go by for me,” he said. “And also, seeing my castmates and the staff made s—t feel quasi-normal again. And if we can do the same for you with something silly and dumb, then dammit, let’s give it the ol’ GED try!”
Che reiterated that sentiment during Update, saying, “As you know Colin, I lost my grandmother this week, and coming back to work really made me feel better — especially with you.” He told Jost that his grandmother’s favorite part of the show was when they did “Joke Swap,” in which they write jokes for each other and share them on air, without ever reading them first.
After Jost then read cold a racially charged joke emailed to him by Pete Davidson, Che revealed that his grandmother actually never saw the show. “She woke up at, like, 4 am to pray,” he said. “You think she’s watching Saturday Night Live? Never.” He then signed off, saying, “For Weekend Update, I’m Martha’s grandbaby!”