Michael Che’s getting out from behind the Weekend Update desk to star in his own show for HBO Max. The SNL star launches That Damn Michael Che on Warner’s streaming service on May 6, and based on the first trailer (which you can watch below) he won’t be trying to steer clear of controversy. The trailer touches on looting, the police, white privilege, the Catholic Church’s sex scandals, and more, in a combo of comedy sketches and Che directly addressing what sounds like a small audience from a John Oliver-esque void. Che gets an assist from a variety of comedians and actors along the way, including Billy Porter, Colin Quinn, Omari Hardwick, Sam Jay, Method Man, Geoffrey Owens, Ellen Cleghorne, and SNL castmates Cecily Strong, Colin Jost, and Heidi Gardner.
Here’s that trailer:
It’ll be interesting to see how this show compares to Weekend Update. Che is very often the best part of that incredibly uneven segment, but you can still tell where he’s pulling his punches a lot of the time. Is that because of the restrictions of broadcast TV? Is that because everything on SNL is filtered through Lorne Michaels’ sensibility? Che’s officially one of SNL’s head writers, though, so perhaps his jokes and vision make it onto the screen without much alteration. Maybe with That Damn Michael Che to compare it to, we’ll get a better sense of how the power dynamics of SNL play out. If that’s something you care about, for whatever reason.
There are six episodes of That Damn Michael Che, and they all land on HBO Max on Thursday, May 6. And no, Che is not leaving SNL, or anything, or at least hasn’t announced that he is. It is a little surprising, given the Lorne Michaels / Broadway Video machine, that Che’s show wasn’t shuttled directly over to Peacock. As always, the business side of television distribution and the streaming wars are ineffable.