Colin Jost’s Comedy Survival: From Smirks to Sympathy, How ‘Weekend Update’ Anchorman Endured the Ultimate On-Air Torture

New York, NY – Colin Jost, the long-standing anchor of “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live (SNL), is celebrating a milestone as he enters his 10th year behind the desk. This achievement is remarkable considering that many SNL fans doubted he would last even one season. In his 2020 memoir, A Very Punchable Face, Jost recounts a memorable encounter he had with Chris Rock during his first season on SNL. Rock’s surprised remark, “Hey! You’re still here!” left Jost feeling insecure about his future on the show.

Jost’s early years as an anchor on “Weekend Update” were challenging. Critics roasted him for his stiffness, awkwardness, and perceived smugness. His critics went so far as to label his perpetual smirk as infuriating and a symbol of white-male mediocrity. Jost himself admitted that his nerves made him smile or laugh on camera, giving the impression of smugness. As a result, he lived in constant fear of being fired throughout the first three years.

Things began to change for Jost when Leslie Jones made her first appearance on “Weekend Update” in May 2014. Although her material was controversial, with accusations of making light of slavery, the most significant impact she had was on Jost himself. She teased and flirted with him, offering racially-charged compliments that left him blushing and feeling more comfortable on the show.

Jost’s discomfort is not limited to Leslie Jones. Cecily Strong’s portrayal of Jeanine Pirro also succeeded in making him break character. During her appearances, Strong spilled drinks on Jost, causing him to struggle to maintain his composure. Even his fellow anchor, Michael Che, enjoyed pranking Jost during joke swap segments, where they each read jokes without prior knowledge of the content. Che frequently wrote racist lines for Jost, resulting in Jost’s embarrassment and defeat.

While it may seem unfair, Jost’s popularity as an “Update” anchor has grown largely due to his reactions to his castmates’ antics. He has shed his initial reputation as a conceited and aloof figure, transforming into a lovable underdog. Despite the constant torment, Jost has embraced his role and recognizes that his willingness to be repeatedly tortured on live TV has endeared him to the audience. As he begins his 10th year on “Weekend Update,” Jost remains the longest-running anchor in SNL history.

In conclusion, Colin Jost’s journey as the anchor of “Weekend Update” has been one of perseverance and growth. Overcoming initial skepticism and criticism, Jost has evolved into a beloved figure among SNL fans. Leslie Jones, Cecily Strong, and Michael Che have all played significant roles in shaping his development on the show. Jost’s ability to laugh at himself and endure his castmates’ pranks have endeared him to viewers, solidifying his place in SNL history.