“Saturday Night Live” veteran Michael Che clarified on Instagram that he’s not leaving the cast of the iconic sketch show after he reportedly said at a comedy show that it was his “last year” behind the “Weekend Update” desk.
Che made the initial remark while performing at a pop-up comedy show hosted in a hair salon in Minneapolis on Sunday.
“This is my last year,” Che said, according to the Star Tribune. “You know my tie is a clip-on, right? What man wears a clip-on tie to work for eight years — that’s embarrassing.”
It wasn’t clear whether Che, a co-head writer for “SNL,” meant that he’s stepping down from “Weekend Update” but will continue to appear on the show or whether he would no longer appear on camera at all but remain as a writer.
In an Instagram post Sunday, Che said he’s “not leaving” the show.
“to comedy fans; please stop telling reporters everything you hear at a comedy show, you’re spoiling the trick,” Che wrote in the caption.
“im not leaving snl,” he explained further in the post. “i said it at a comedy show and some dork transcribed it and wrote an article.”
HuffPost reached out to NBC, which airs “Saturday Night Live,” for clarification, but representatives did not provide an official comment.
Cast member Cecily Strong formerly co-anchored “Weekend Update” and has remained a frequent sketch performer since leaving that spot.
Che became the first Black co-head writer in “SNL” history in 2017, when he and Jost were promoted to lead the show’s writing team, according to Vice.
Although the current incarnation of “Weekend Update” has won many fans, Che has come under fire over the years for a number of controversial jokes, including about Israel and the LGBTQ community.
In February 2021, the Anti-Defamation League called out Che after he made a joke regarding Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination policies.
“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of its population,” Che said during a “Weekend Update” segment. “And I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to the joke shortly afterward, calling it “deeply offensive” in a statement on Twitter. Greenblatt said the joke’s premise was based on “factual inaccuracies” and played into “an antisemitic trope in the process.”
The Genesis 123 Foundation, a Christian organization, also said the joke was antisemitic.
“No, Mr. Che and ‘SNL,’ anti-semitism is never funny,” the organization said in a statement.
“President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military,” Che said during the segment. “It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy ‘don’t ask, don’t tuck,’ which is not good news.”
He also faced criticism after misgendering Caitlyn Jenner on “SNL” in 2019, calling her a “fella.”
Che currently has his own show, “That Damn Michael Che,” which was renewed for a second season on HBO Max, according to Variety.
This story has been updated to include details from Che’s Instagram post Sunday.