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Thanks for Nothing, Lorne Michaels

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 5, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 5, 2019 |


Comedian Anthony Jeselnik appeared on this week’s Last Laugh podcast (via The Daily Beast) and spoke briefly about his time writing for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (most of his jokes, apparently, were too dark for Fallon’s sensibility) and auditioning for his dream job, “Weekend Update.” He was up for the gig ahead of the 40th season when SNL decided (inexplicably) to replace Cecily Strong behind the desk. He competed with around 10 other folks, but despite doing very well in his audition, Lorne Michaels decided to hire Michael Che, which was smart because the show “didn’t want two white guys sitting there next to each other,” but also, they ended up with Michael Che so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Ultimately, however, Jeselnik says he was happy he didn’t get the job, because as John Mulaney told him, “You think you wanted that job,” but he would have “hated” being told by Lorne Michaels what jokes he could and could not put in the show. All of which brings us to Donald Trump, who hosted SNL in 2015, which normalized him as a candidate more than Jimmy Fallon’s hair ruffle did, and that was by Lorne Michael’s design, according to Jeselnik.

“I was disgusted by it,” Jeselnik says on the Last Laugh podcast. “It was two rich guys helping each other out. I don’t know how I would have dealt with it if I was on the show. I found it to be, quite frankly, revolting.”

He’s not wrong. According to Trump in an interview he gave before the election, he has “known Lorne Michaels for a long time and he’s a great guy.” In other words, they scratched each other’s backs, and if you want to know how deeply those scratches penetrated, Jeselnik would like to draw your attention to statements made by Taran Killam after he was fired from SNL (via Deadline):

“Lorne was being so specific about what we could and couldn’t say about [Trump], and he was dictating a lot of the settings. Lorne was like, ‘It’ll be too old news by then, and you know, you don’t want to vilify him. He’s like any New York taxi driver. I know him, I’ve seen him around at parties for years and years, and he just says whatever it is he’s thinking. And that’s his thing. But you have to find a way in that makes him likable.’”

But do you? Do you really? Because it seems to me that the attempts of Lorne Michaels, Jimmy Fallon, and the rest of the media to make Trump seem “likable” are why this country is in the mess that it is in.

Source: The Daily Beast

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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