Nick of Time: More 'SNL: Weekend Update' Incoming - NBC4 Washington
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Nick of Time: More 'SNL: Weekend Update' Incoming

The summer return of "Weekend Update" offers an opportunity to weigh in on wild political times.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Colin Jost opened the most recent edition of "Weekend Update" by declaring: "Okay, I know I said this last week, but this week was crazy." 

    His observation came way back during the May 20 "Saturday Night Live" season finale – eons ago in the fast-moving Trump era.

    Jost and co-anchor Michael Che are set to return Thursday at 9 p.m. ET for the first of four prime-time "Weekend Update" summer specials. It marks a welcome opportunity to catch up with the last three month of craziness.

    "Weekend Update," from its start on the Oct. 11, 1975, premiere of "SNL," helped set the tone for the show's often topical-driven irreverent humor (first presidential joke, delivered by Chevy Chase: “At a press conference Thursday night, President Ford blew his nose. Alert Secret Service agents seized his handkerchief and wrestled it to the ground.”). The "Update" ethos runs fiercest during politically turbulent times – no more so than in the latest election and post-election cycles.

    The segment also helped seed the present vibrant and crowded late night TV comedy landscape – from “The Daily Show” and its current-events-fueled progeny (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver) to former "Weekend Update" host Seth Meyers' approach to "Late Night."

    The 22 Emmy nominations notched last month by "SNL" proved a sign of a season in which political humor buoyed the show's ratings and relevance. But the awards recognition also underscored the comedy stalwart's production schedule disadvantage compared to the year-round late night players.

    Che and Jost, even in limited duty, bring much to the anchor table. They've evolved over the course of three seasons from a couple pals riffing on the news to common-sense observers of absurdity.

    The duo last weighed in during the wild days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Che and Jost have been absent for much since, including the quick rise and quicker self-immolation of short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and the resignation of Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, a favorite "SNL" parody target. 

    "Weekend Update," though, predicted Spicer's departure in its last outing, via an "in-memoriam"-style segment mocking the busy revolving door at Trump's White House.

    "SNL" has been gone for nearly three months, but it's not forgotten. The summer season of "Weekend Update" provides a timely chance to remind us of what we've been missing.

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    Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.