Last week, comedian/Saturday Night Live cast member/Weekend Update co-anchor/kind of a dick Michael Che premiered his news series, That Damn Michael Che, on HBO Max. I haven’t watched it yet, as I’ve been busy watching The Nanny (which has helped me realize that Lauren Lane as C.C. Babcock is not only one of the best and funniest parts of that entire series, but that she also has permission to step on me while insisting that I cluck like a chicken), Miss Sherlock (because Columbo isn’t the only murder-mystery series that makes for good comfort food viewing during a
pan pizza Panasonic Panda Express pandemic), and Mare Of Easttown (which has me hooked now that I’ve gotten over the mild shock of Kate Winslet playing a damn grandmother) instead, but Dustin has, and his review wasn’t entirely a positive one.
In 2016, I thought Michael Che and Colin Jost were the exact wrong “Weekend Update” anchors for the time, and I stand by that. But, I will also say that over the years, Jost and Che have gotten considerably better, they have great chemistry together, and — as is often the case with SNL — “Update” is regularly the best part of a given episode.
A lot of that has to do with Michael Che, who — for better or worse — reminds me a lot of Norm McDonald behind the desk, in that he frequently breaks format, he takes a lot of risks, and he doesn’t give a sh-t what people think. He’s also kind of a dick. But like Fey and Poehler, he’s good at sneaking in the occasional political rant disguised as comedy. Che is funny, and he’s very good at mining uncomfortable truths for laughs, and he will say the things on SNL that other cast members will not for fear of being canceled.
That part about Che not giving a sh-t what people think is quite hilarious, not because it’s true, but because Che keeps going out of his way to prove that he does give a sh-t what people think, especially when it comes to him and his work. Hell, Dustin wrote all about how sensitive and angry he gets when it comes to anyone criticizing him, or that sentient jar of mayonnaise named Colin Jost who hosts Weekend Update right alongside him, or his work in general. Just yesterday, he went on Instagram Stories to respond to the negative reaction that “Gen Z Hospital,” a sketch that he wrote for this past weekend’s episode hosted by
Fake-Ass Lex Luthor Elon Musk…
“I’ve been reading about how my “gen z” sketch was misappropriating AAVE and I was stunned cause what the f**k is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up. Turns out it’s an acronym for ‘African American vernacular english.’ You know, AAVE! That ol’ saying that actual black people use in conversation all the time. Look, the sketch bombed. I’m used to that. I meant no offense to the ‘aave’ community. I love aave. Aave to the moon!”
And just last night, Che wasn’t done using Instagram Stories to lash out at his enemies as if he just got some brand-new Hattori Hanzo steel from Okinawa. Craig Jenkins, music critic for Vulture, also reviewed That Damn Michael Che, and his review wasn’t entirely positive, either. And to the surprise of no one, Che had a lot to say about his review:
That Instagram post caught the attention of Craig himself, who responded to this on Twitter.
oh brother pic.twitter.com/13a6Ra8pbH— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) May 11, 2021
now that i know he's lurking me and talking shit let me say i think it's dead weird to create a whole mythology for why a critic didn't love every episode of a show and particularly one who says the show is frequently quite smart and insightful. young behavior. who has the time?— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) May 11, 2021
spoiler: a person who likes music might also be a person who likes TV or film or video games or maybe even food. you'd think it wouldn't perplex a person who writes and acts and does stand-up for a living that someone else might care about more than one field at a time but hey.— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) May 11, 2021
It didn’t take long for Megh Wright, comedy editor for Splitsider at Vulture, to tag herself into the ring and explain why Craig reviewed That Damn Michael Che:
Dear Che: I actually don't have "comedy critics." I use all the critics - generally one of them reviews standup specials. But if there's a show I really want reviewed, I'll ask the critics who wants it. Craig's a fucking incredible writer who understands comedy. Hope that helps https://t.co/kkQW4UlNP7— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) May 11, 2021
Which didn’t stop Che from taking screenshots of those tweets and continuing to talk even more sh-t about Che and about Vulture…
And once it became clear to Craig that Che was spying on his Twitter, Craig added a little more fuel to the fire…
dear six hundred thousand followers, the internet that is not real to me has conspired to make you think that my show is only intermittently hilarious. fight this lie!— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) May 11, 2021
anyways don't write to court anyone's approval but your own— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) May 11, 2021
I’m pretty sure that Che said a hell of a lot more and talked a lot more sh-t, but he deleted all of his Instagram stories and called it a night before going to sleep and dreaming about how the Internet and social media aren’t real.
For any artist working in any industry where their work is shared with the rest of the world for them to judge however they see fit, it’s not always easy or pleasant to see what you do and how you do it being judged and criticized by strangers. And some artists learn how to absorb these criticisms and discern which ones are worth listening to (and using as tools to learn how to become better artists) and which ones deserve to be ignored. But if you’re an artist like Michael Che who still refuses to learn such lessons, who still refuses to develop tougher skin when dealing with all kinds of criticism, and instead treat every review from a critic as if they’re challenging you to duel over pistols at dawn, then you’re probably in the wrong business. Even teachers learn how to deal with kids who sit in their classrooms and say the meanest and foulest things imaginable to them in order to amuse themselves and their friends, and they get paid significantly less than you do.
And yes, I’m fully aware that Michael Che is going to vanity-search his name in order to find other reviews of his new show, that he’s probably going to see this positive and family-friendly headline with his name in it, and then maybe, just maybe blow up my spot to make himself feel better and to make me feel worse. Despite the fact that I’ve already been targeted online by people who don’t like what I write about them (hi, Jack Posobiec! Hello there, person that runs Bounding Into Comics whose name I don’t remember nor do I give a f-ck about), who then get their followers to go after me as well and say such lovely things about me like how I’m an enemy of the people, that I’m a SJW racist (whatever that means), that I’m a thug who deserves to be in jail, and best of all, that I should go back to Africa. So if you’re reading this, Michael Che, because you have nothing better to do with your time like writing new material for the final two episodes of your nationally televised comedy series, and you decide that I’m going to be another one of those niggas you decide to make fun of because I didn’t kiss your ass enough to your liking…
…that is and will be the only reaction I have to anything you write for your next Instagram stories once you wake up.
And considering how successful your career is right now and how hard you’re probably working, the last thing you should be doing is spending all of your time on Instagram harassing and verbally abusing people just because your skin is too thin and your feelings got hurt. That’s what Talib Kweli is for.
Oh, and Donald Glover decided to bring his ass onto Twitter late last night and tweet about how critics are saying that they’re tired of reviewing movies and television shows that are boring them, and that fear of being canceled is the reason why movies and television shows are bring now, because the people who make them are afraid of being canceled and that’s why they’re afraid to be experimental in their work. I’m sure those tweets will already be deleted by the time you and Michael Che read this, and those tweets are yet another reminder of how Michelle Obama really needs to come and snatch the phone away from some of you before you say some sh-t that makes people on social media wonder why the f-ck you’re even on social media in the first place.
Image sources (in order of posting): NBC, Will Heath