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‘SNL’ writer Michael Che says he was ‘stunned’ by backlash against his ‘Gen Z Hospital’ sketch: ‘I meant no offense’

Summary List PlacementMichael Che addressed the backlash surrounding the "Gen Z Hospital" sketch he wrote for the May 8 episode of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Monday.  In the sketch, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who made his hosting debut Saturday, played a doctor delivering grave news to a group of Gen Zers, or those born after 1996. "SNL" cast members Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, and Bowen Yang posed as the teens, rattling off terms like "stan," "bruh," "bestie," and "no cap." As Insider's Moises Mendez II reported, critics took issue with the show's attribution of the terms...

michael che

Summary List Placement

Michael Che addressed the backlash surrounding the “Gen Z Hospital” sketch he wrote for the May 8 episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on Monday. 

In the sketch, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who made his hosting debut Saturday, played a doctor delivering grave news to a group of Gen Zers, or those born after 1996. “SNL” cast members Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, and Bowen Yang posed as the teens, rattling off terms like “stan,” “bruh,” “bestie,” and “no cap.”

As Insider’s Moises Mendez II reported, critics took issue with the show’s attribution of the terms to Gen Z or internet culture, as many pointed out that they are used in and were popularized by African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), a dialect of English created and used in Black communities.

Social media users circulated tweets accusing the comedy-sketch series of appropriating AAVE.

Che, a co-head writer on “SNL” and a coanchor on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment, identified himself as the writer behind the “Gen Z Hospital” sketch in a statement responding to the criticism on Monday. 

“I’ve been reading about how my ‘gen z’ sketch was misappropriating AAVE and I was stunned cause what the f— is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up,” he wrote on Instagram, according to Deadline. It appears that the post has since been deleted.

Che continued, “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…”

He concluded, “Look, the sketch bombed. I’m used to that. I meant no offense to the ‘aave’ community. I love aave. Aave to the moon!”

Michael Che

Che is no stranger to stirring controversy on the popular comedy-sketch series, particularly while telling jokes alongside coanchor and co-head writer Colin Jost on the “Weekend Update” segment.

While some viewers brush off the at-times exaggerated news updates as mere satire, others have taken offense at Che’s statements and argued that he’s punching down in his comedy. 

In 2019, Che faced scrutiny for misgendering Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as transgender four years earlier, and deadnaming her on live TV. 

He was accused of transphobia again this year, when he made light of President Joe Biden’s decision to lift the ban on transgender people serving in the military enacted during the Trump administration. He referred to the new policy as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tuck.”

Less than a month later, Che ignited a debate about antisemitism after making a controversial joke about Israel’s vaccination rollout, stating: “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half.”

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