I’ve often heard that Lorne Michaels tells new Weekend Update anchors that the biggest change they’ll experience is that more viewers will know their names. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my parents still refer to any one behind the Update desk as Tina Fey. So, I guess Lorne was right, in away: viewers will remember certain anchors’ names. Whether middle America calls them by their own name or Tina Fey’s, becoming a Weekend Update anchor is still one of the biggest achievements a young comedian can reach.
In a really excellent conversation with the Wall Street Journal Update co-anchors Cecily Strong and Colin Jost dish about everything SNL: Lorne Michaels, Update writers, dressing rooms, Staten Island, and meth. It’s definitely worth a read and a quick day dream that you were in the room just shooting the shit with Cecily. Here is what Strong and Jost had to say about learning they would share the Update desk:
I would guess the “Weekend Update” desk is strange because part of “SNL” is being open to all kinds of characters, voices, all that. But newscasters are this specific Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric archetype.
Ms. Strong: There are so many voices in your head. Everyone would say, we want Norm. Be a bad boy. Say something s—. Say it sarcastic. Be like Dennis Miller. Do it like Jane Curtin and play everything straight. There have been so many different types that have gone through. And I had a horribly confusing meeting where it was like ‘It’s you. But the heightened version of you. But you’re a reporter. But it’s you, just heightened. And you’re a reporter.’ And you’re kind of like ‘What?!’
Colin, did you have that?
Mr. Jost: Yeah, it’s a hard thing to figure out because you’re figuring out your own voice still. It’s rare to be on television and just talking as you. On “SNL,” that’s the only time anyone’s doing that, except the host in the monologue.
What was it like to join together? Did you celebrate? Is there a pregame ritual?
Ms. Strong: I texted you a really dumb text, right when I had my dinner with Lorne in June, where he said “I want you for ‘Update’ with Colin.” I left the dinner like most meetings you leave with Lorne, like “what just happened?” So someone explained that, yes, I was doing “Update” with Colin. So I sent Colin a text: “Two cool brunettes at ‘Update!’”
Mr. Jost: And Lorne had told me only vaguely about it. So I didn’t know what the text was referring to. I didn’t want to be presumptuous that it was me, so I was thinking, who else is brunette?
Ms. Strong: Just wanted you to know: It’s me and Bobby [Moynihan, another cast member].