You might not recognise Michael Che, but before long you will know his name. The Lower East Side-born writer-comedian, who makes his London debut this week, is quickly joining the comedy elite in his home country, so we recommend you see him this side of the Atlantic while you have the chance. Not convinced? Here’s why.
Che made it into Rolling Stone magazine’s 2013 countdown of ‘The 50 Funniest People Now’, scraping in at number 50. ‘I was pleased that they even knew who I was,’ says Che.
On stage, Che is smooth, confident and in no hurry at all. But in reality the 31-year-old has been working furiously hard, gigging seven nights a week, and he’s rapidly risen up the ranks. After just a few short years on the circuit he scored a job most US comedians would kill for.
That dream job was as a writer on NBC’s long-standing sketch comedy institution ‘Saturday Night Live’. Other writers on the show have included Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy and many others. ‘It was bizarre,’ admits Che, about the job. ‘I had so much fun there. It’s very tough to leave.’
The reason for Che’s departure from ‘SNL’? He’s just been hired as the latest correspondent on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’, the satirical monster which has launched the careers of more starry names. But Che admits he’s not up to speed on his politics: ‘I hope I can just fake my way through it,’ he says. ‘That’s the plan, at least.’
Because of the ‘Daily Show’ gig Che has been forced to cancelled his Edinburgh Fringe run this year. He had fun at last year’s festival – ‘Scotland’s beautiful,’ he says, ‘even though my presence probably doubled the entire black population’ – but with his schedule getting busier it’s hard to believe he’ll return to the UK any time soon. This isn’t goodbye, though, he insists. ‘It’s more like, “See you when I get fired.”’