A Caitlyn Jenner joke? In 2019? Oof.
Saturday Night Live continued its 45th season last night with host and musical guest Chance the Rapper. During the “Weekend Update” segment, anchor Michael Che compared problematic rapper Kanye West to Jenner, who came out publicly as transgender in 2015.
Che set up his non-joke by mentioning West’s new gospel album, Jesus Is King, and his plans to alter old hits with G-rated lyrics. “At first I thought Kanye was losing his mind, and now I feel like he’s fine, he’s just turning into an old white lady,” the comedian said.
Michael Che about to try out the transphobic joke he was working on all week pic.twitter.com/IffXdKyMRN
— Will Long✨ (@Willful_long) October 27, 2019
“I mean, he used to be one of the coolest black dudes on Earth. Now he’s showing up to events in sweatpants and orthopedic sneakers, listening to Kenny G and trying to get black people to like Trump. It’s like, how long before this guy changes his name to Kathy?”
“Now, you might think that I’m crazy, but about five years ago, there was a fella named Bruce Jenner, and he moved to Calabasas…,” Che trailed off as an old photo of the pre-transition reality TV star flashed onscreen. The audience largely groaned with a smattering of uneasy laughter, and one woman could be heard saying, “No.” Che then looked at co-anchor Colin Jost, who laughed uncomfortably while covering his face with his hand.
Twitter was quick to let Che and SNL have it, with many calling the comedian and his remarks “transphobic.” Some also called for Che to be fired.
Trans women are women #SNL, even Caitlyn Jenner.
— Quaranina (@NinaWurz) October 27, 2019
.@nbcsnl Michael Che’s transphobic and misogynist BS has to go. It’s awful and totally not funny. He obviously has nothing left in the tank.
— Amy Johnson (@Rioja95) October 27, 2019
Caitlyn Jenner jokes in 2019. Keep crushing it, SNL. Truly innovative stuff from Michael Che.
— Justin Martin (@jmartinwrites) October 27, 2019
come for chance, the ladies, and bowen yang, leave when michael che deadnames a trans person!
— sam (@samanthaistan) October 27, 2019
Cool transphobic joke, Michael Che.#SNL
— Justin Young (@TheJustin) October 27, 2019
Leave it to Michael Che to ruin a decent episode of #SNL
— Captain ACAB (@topscallop) October 27, 2019
anyway colin jost and michael che (and other snl writers for sure, but they’re the head writers actually delivering the weekend update jokes) are fucking transphobic and it’s consistent and i’m fucking sick of it
— rowan she-ra spoilers (@rollforgender) October 27, 2019
Can #SNL please quit deadnaming Caitlyn Jenner? If we wanted offensive stuff that's also not funny, we'd go watch Shane Gillis.
— Joy Eilene (@joyeilene) October 27, 2019
decided to watch snl with my parente this week and was very excited to see a really poorly done transphobic joke about caitlyn jenner. che couldn’t even finish the joke.
— flower f&gg0t (@flwrfggt) October 27, 2019
wow I was…really enjoying tuning into my first @nbcsnl episode in months, and then halfway through Michael Che deadnames Caitlyn Jenner to make a joke about her transition
— seize ICE’s masks + free Gaza NOW (@leve_me_lone) October 27, 2019
Thank you, SNL audience, for your reaction to Michael Che.
— Jess ️ (@spryology) October 27, 2019
michael che just deadnamed and misgendered caitlyn jenner on air for a joke. the joke? implying kanye west is trans. fuckin hell mate
— goblin man • black lives matter (@discountsquash) October 27, 2019
— joshua nathaniel (@nathaniellaux) October 27, 2019
it’s obvious michael che knows he’s about to get hate for being transphobic. he misses the attention #snl
— FANTASIA X KILLED ME (@doreenmahonez) October 27, 2019
That whole joke about Kanye turning into an old white lady took a real turn… Yikes, Michael Che. #SNL
— shannon (@attilathehoneyb) October 27, 2019
SNL creator Lorne Michaels said in 2015 that jokes about Jenner’s transition would not be off limits on the show.
Among this week’s other “Weekend Update” jokes, Che described Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, as “another young woman turning to an old man promising to pay for college.” He also called Rudy Giuliani “the 9/11 of mayors.”
— ❥ (@yatesbertlover) October 27, 2019
Watch Che deadname and misgender Jenner in the SNL clip below.