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A Study into the Many Facial Expressions of 'Weekend Update's' Colin Jost

By Corey Atad | Think Pieces | May 19, 2014 |

By Corey Atad | Think Pieces | May 19, 2014 |

What is Colin Jost?

It’s a problem we’ve faced for only a few months, and already it feels like eons. Every time he appears on screen in Weekend Update I can feel a crawling sensation under my skin. I’m sure you feel it, too. I call it CJS (Colin Jost Syndrome). It’s an affliction for which there is no cure in sight. Researchers are working day and night, but they’ve come up empty. It looks like we’ll simply have to live with CJS for the foreseeable future.

In the meanwhile, though, it might be helpful to familiarize ourselves with the causes of CJS. It took great minds to find them, but all evidence now points to Colin Jost’s face. It’s not a bad looking face by any means, but there’s something there, often in his subtle facial expressions, slowly driving us all mad.

So let’s take a closer look, shall we!

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The most important facial expression in the Colin Jost stable. Jost makes a joke and then smirks. He’s trying so hard to pull a Seth Meyers-style affable grin, but the result is so smarmy, and the way his upper lip turns downward only makes matters worse. It’s a combination of pride and discomfort that’s simply obnoxious. And speaking of discomfort, have you seen the look on his face in the Weekend Update opening?

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It’s okay, Colin, we don’t blame you. It’s all Lorne’s fault. Onward!

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Weekend Update anchors have often done the “serious face” thing. What better way to sell a punchline than to say it with a totally straight face, as seriously as possible? Colin Jost does it a lot, and that would be fine, except that his 60s news Wall St. executive vibe makes his attempts fall flat almost every time.

Actually, let’s take a moment to discuss Jost’s 60s-inspired style.

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“Don’t correct me, Haircut!”

Colin Jost looks like a kid who wanted to be taken seriously, so he raided his dad’s closet for old suits and sprayed a ton of product in his hair. I’ve got news for you, Colin. It ain’t helping. Sure, you look reasonably sharp, but are you aware that SNL is supposed to be an irreverent comedy show? This isn’t Tonight with Jack Parr, buddy, you can stand to look a little dishevelled.

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That attempt to be taken seriously shows itself so clearly in moments where one of his jokes lands. He’s just so happy! Like he want to run to his mom and have her pat him on the head. Just look at the way that little, and that squinting gleam in his eyes. He’s done it and he’s oh so proud. It’d be endearing, but there’s something about the control in it. You can see it in the way his mouth stays small. He’s trying to avoid looking too silly, and that just makes him look uptight.

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Then there’s his resting face. He looks like a Kennedy son that everyone refuses to admit actually exists. The hair, the suit, the jaw. Hey, maybe he is a Kennedy! Maybe Jost should give up comedy and run for elected office! At least that’d get him out of the Weekend Update chair. #Jost2016

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Maybe I’m being too hard on Jost, though. Maybe we’re all being too hard on him. The reality is, being made head writer AND Weekend Update host is a tough and intimidating gig. It usually takes a while before an anchor settles in. Jost could very well improve, especially as he eases up more. That sense of discomfort really is palpable, but I’m sure Jost is just a guy who aims to please. I mean look at this old picture of him:


Look at that stubbly face and Bieber-esque hair cut. He’s probably just a goofball who’s afraid of looking a little weird on TV. In fact, I have pictorial evidence of exactly that!

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See! He’s probably a total goofball deep down.

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He’s a goofball who just wants to be taken seriously. And to his credit, sometimes it works. Plus, it can be pretty easy to get lost in his eyes.

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And hey, apparently he’s dating Rashida Jones, so he must have something going for him!

Anyway, hopefully Jost does improve, because I doubt he’s going anywhere any time soon. Maybe he’ll loosen up a little, let his inner goofball run free and wild and vanquish CJS for all time. Until then, we can probably stand to let Jost enjoy the little things.

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You can follow Corey Atad on Twitter, or listen to his Mad Men podcast, Not Great, Pod!

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