Last Thursday saw a uniquely surprising shift in 'SNL''s upcoming 40th anniversary season, as senior "Weekend Update" host Cecily Strong was relieved from the desk, and replaced with writer Michael Che alongside head writer Colin Jost. Many had taken the swap as an unfair slight against Strong in favor of Jost's writer seniority, though now Strong herself has spoken out on her feelings toward the "Weekend Update" shakeup.
We'd known that 'SNL' would need some additional fine-tuning after shedding some of the dead weight of season 39, but where writer Colin Jost had replaced "Weekend Update"s departed Seth Meyers alongside Cecily Strong, an unexpected shakeup has emerged. Strong will step down from the Update desk, remaining an 'SNL' regular, while 'Daily Show' correspondent and 'SNL' writer Michael Che will become Jost's new co-anchor.
The truth is, I don’t particularly enjoy reviewing ‘Saturday Night Live’ – something I’ve done now for four full seasons at three different outlets. Now, I’ve loved the show for my entire life and I love writing about the show, but it’s not easy to be critical of what these people do every week because it really is remarkable what they can pull off in less than one week on live television. (I’ve attended ‘SNL’ twice: Once in 2009 and then again for dress rehearsal last night. Watching the organized chaos that unfolds in person is almost overwhelming.)
The 2013-2014 season is now over and, no, it won’t go down in history as one of the better seasons in ‘SNL’ history. The show has lost too many stars over the past couple of years to recover that quickly, but they will recover. They always do. ‘SNL’ has always leaned heavily on recurring sketches, but what’s weird is how many recurring sketches are in rotation right now that not that many people love. When you think back, there’s always been a ‘Church Lady’ or ‘Wayne’s World’ or ‘Cheerleaders’ or ‘Stefon’ – but now, they don’t have that, and without that it’s been hard to sustain an identity.