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Television

Michael Che pulls a prank on Colin Jost.

Many great comedians have sat at the helm of the “Weekend Update” desk on “Saturday Night Live” over the show’s 48 seasons. Chevy Chase was known for his cool deadpan. Dennis Miller was the hip intellectual. Norm Macdonald will go down in history for his endless OJ jokes that eventually got him removed from the desk. Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon were a great double act that was a fun mix of high-brow and low-brow humor.

The current anchors, Michael Che and Colin Jost, will probably best be known for making fun of each other. Over the years, one of the duo’s signature bits has been writing jokes for each other and reading them live for the first time. It seems like every time they do that bit, Che finds a new way to embarrass Jost.

On Saturday, April 1, Che was at it again, this time with a brutal April Fool’s prank where he secretly asked the audience not to laugh at any of Jost’s jokes.


Che and Jost opened their segment with jokes about the indictment of former president Donald Trump, but the audience laughed much harder at Che than at Jost. A few minutes into the bit, Jost made a joke at his own expense and it received only a smattering of laughter.

"At this point, it feels like even pro-Trump people have moved on," Jost said, referring to the trial before a superimposed image of him wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and a sign that read, "LET OUR BOY GO!" appeared on the screen.

The gag was met with an audience member screaming, “You stink!" The heckle was the last straw for Jost, who hung his head in his hand in shame. At that point, Che gave up the gag.

"I told them not to laugh at you for April Fools,'" Che told Jost, and the two couldn’t keep it together. "That's the meanest thing you've ever done to me. I'm covered in sweat,” Jost told Che through fits of laughter.

"I was truly like, 'Am I not mic'd?' And then I was like, 'Oh, I just suck," Jost joked.

The crowd broke out in applause for Jost, but he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging them after they refused to laugh at his jokes. "No, no! Don't even dare! Don't you even dare try now."

When it was Jost’s turn to tell his next joke, a bit about Florida Ron DeSantis, Che said, “They’ll probably laugh at this next one.” And the audience did.

The episode was hosted by Abbot Elementary’s Quinta Brunson, who shined in “Traffic Altercation,” a sketch where she and Mikey Day played motorists screaming at each other in traffic. The crux of the bit was that they couldn’t hear what each other was saying, so they had to argue using hand signals.


This article originally appeared on 4.3.23

Pop Culture

SNL sketch about George Washington's dream for America hailed an 'instant classic'

"People will be referencing it as one of the all time best SNL skits for years.”

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

Seriously, what were our forefathers thinking with our measuring system?

Ever stop to think how bizarre it is that the United States is one of the only countries to not use the metric system? Or how it uses the word “football” to describe a sport that, unlike fútbol, barely uses the feet at all?

What must our forefathers have been thinking as they were creating this brave new world?

Wonder no further. All this and more is explored in a recent Saturday Night Live sketch that folks are hailing as an “instant classic.”

The hilarious clip takes place during the American Revolution, where George Washington rallies his troops with an impassioned speech about his future hopes for their fledgling country…all the while poking fun at America’s nonsensical measurements and language rules.

Like seriously, liters and milliliters for soda, wine and alcohol but gallons, pints, and quarters for milk and paint? And no “u” after “o” in words like “armor” and “color” but “glamour” is okay?

The inherent humor in the scene is only amplified by comedian and host Nate Bargatze’s understated, deadpan delivery of Washington. Bargatze had quite a few hits during his hosting stint—including an opening monologue that acted as a mini comedy set—but this performance takes the cake.

Watch:

All in all, people have been applauding the sketch, noting that it harkened back to what “SNL” does best, having fun with the simple things.

Here’s what folks are saying:

“This skit is an instant classic. I think people will be referencing it as one of the all time best SNL skits for years.”

“Dear SNL, whoever wrote this sketch, PLEASE let them write many many MANY more!”

“Instantly one of my favorite SNL sketches of all time!!!”

“I’m not lying when I say I have watched this sketch about 10 times and laughed just as hard every time.”

“This may be my favorite sketch ever. This is absolutely brilliant.”


There’s more where that came from. Catch even more of Bargatze’s “SNL” episode here.


This article originally appeared on 10.30.23

Pop Culture

1980s cultural icon Michael Winslow made an emotional comeback on 'America's Got Talent'

He walked away at the height of his fame to raise his children after his wife's sudden death.

via The Nerd Patrol / Flickr

Actor, comedian, and self-proclaimed "voicetramentalist," Michael Winslow was just about everywhere in the '80s. His incredible ability to make sound effects with his voice and uncanny beatboxing skills landed him the role of officer Larvell Jones in all seven "Police Academy" movies.

He also did voiceover work in "Gremlins" and appeared in Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs."

But Winslow was forced to scale back his career in 1993 after the death of his first wife Belinda Church. As a single father, he had to stop appearing in films so he could spend more time with his children.


He continued to star in the occasional commercial, perform stand-up comedy, and make guest appearances, but he didn't have the profile he once had.

Back in July of 2021, Winslow stepped back in the spotlight with a performance on "America's Got Talent." After some prodding from his son, he decided it would be the perfect venue to relaunch his career on television.

In the '80s, he was known as "The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects," but things have changed since then, he now claims to have "hundreds of thousands."

"Now, after raising my two kids, I'm in a different phase. I think this is my time," Winslow, 62, said on the episode. "And America's Got Talent is the place for me to show the world I still have something to offer, I still have some sounds to make. There's still room for a little more."

Judge Simon Cowell was excited to see Winslow when he took the stage. "We know you!" Cowell exclaimed. "I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that you are here!"

Winslow then gave a stunning performance where he impersonated the chimes on an airplane, beatboxed to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," and performed Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star Spangled Banner." His performance was proof that after five decades in show business Winslow hasn't lost a step and, in fact, he may be at his peak.

After his performance, Winslow won a standing ovation from the audience and four "gigantic yeses" from the panel.

"My life has changed again for the better, and I've gotten another blessing," Winslow told Terry Crews after leaving the stage. America's Got Talent is the place for me to show I still have something to offer. I've still got some sounds to make, and there's still room for a little more."

Winslow is a great reminder that sometimes when celebrities seem to fade away, it isn't necessarily because they're washed up or past their prime. They are humans with real challenges just like the rest of us and real-world events can affect their career trajectories. It's great to see such a wonderful performer get another shot at the big time.

This article originally appeared on 07.14.21

Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.


"I'm feeding the baby," Sainte-Marie told him. "See? He's drinking milk from my breast."

Sainte-Marie didn't show anything that anyone could reasonably find objectionable, but she didn't have her baby hidden under a blanket, either. From Big Bird's point of view, he could see exactly what was happening, and Sainte-Marie appeared perfectly comfortable with that.

Big Bird contemplated her response, then said, "Hmm…that's a funny way to feed a baby."

"Lots of mothers feed their babies this way," Sainte-Marie said. "Not all mothers, but lots of mothers do. He likes it because it's nice and warm and sweet and natural, and it's good for him. And I get to hug him when I do it, see?"

Their conversation continued with Sainte-Marie answering Big BIrd's questions with simple, matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental answers, and it's truly a thing of beauty. Watch:

That segment was filmed 46 years ago, and it's hard to believe some people still take issue with seeing a mom breastfeed out in the open. We've seen waves of education and advocacy attempting to normalize breastfeeding, and yet it wasn't until 2018 that every state in the United States had laws on the books protecting breastfeeders from being cited or fined. Even now, some moms still get flack for not hiding away in a bathroom or a car to feed their babies.

Sainte-Marie recently spoke with Yahoo Life about how that segment came about. She had gotten pregnant during her second season on "Sesame Street" and she had her baby with her on set all the time. She'd breastfeed off camera, and she asked one day if the show could do something about breastfeeding.

"The reason why I did that really was because when I woke up from delivering my baby, I was in the hospital, and over here on the table was a big basket of stuff from some formula company. And I preferred to breastfeed, but the doctors didn't understand about breastfeeding. They hadn't learned it."

Even today, according to the CDC, physicians generally lack adequate breastfeeding education and training, so as far as we've come with education on this subject, we clearly still have a ways to go.

Watch Sainte-Marie talk about how she came to share breastfeeding with the "Sesame Street" audience:

Thank you, Buffy, for providing a beautiful example of how to talk about breastfeeding that's just as relevant today at it was four decades ago.


This article originally appeared on 1.31.23