SNL star talks growth and politics in comedy

Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member and co-host of the show’s Weekend Update, Colin Jost, took the stage in the Main Lounge on Feb. 16 as a part of SAB’s Spring Comedy Show.

Along with fellow comedian Mike Recine, who opened the show, the pair delivered sets packed with references to politics, love and collegiate life.

While performing at Seton Hall, Colin Jost joked about topics ranging from his dating life to politics. Photo courtesy of Daniella Coffaro.

Jost began his set with a series of jokes about life at Seton Hall, tackling topics from nuns playing Frisbee to the occasional startling bells of Jubilee Hall.

The comedian explained, in an exclusive interview with The Setonian, when he visits college campuses he often adapts his standup routine to better relate to his audience. For example, Jost said college students may be more in tune to politics or current events than other crowds. However, he cautioned that, in political comedy, it is important to present a balanced view, especially in light of the current political climate.

“You have to be a little more sensitive at times because people have a lot of anger,” Jost said. “You kind of have to make people understand that you get their anger first before you start criticizing something that’s in their worldview because people are really touchy right now. It’s sort of this weird climate where it’s all or nothing, either you hate Trump or you hate the media and, if you don’t hate it as much as some people, they get angry at you, even if  you’re on their side.”

Jost has become used to adapting his comedy in other ways as well. He noted that, while he and Weekend Update co-host Michael Che prepare material for the segment and sketches in collaboration with other writers throughout the week, a story occasionally breaks at the last minute. In these cases, the research team often races to pull a clip and writers make sure it is edited properly while brainstorming jokes.

“Sometimes you have 10 minutes to figure out a joke you are going to say on TV in front of 10 million people,” Jost explained.

He added that his years of thinking on his feet in comedy have helped him grow his confidence as a writer.

According to Jost, his love of comedy started during grade school when he and his friends imitated SNL sketches that starred Chris Farley and Adam Sandler. Additionally, during his college years, the Harvard graduate wrote for The Harvard Lampoon, a publication dedicated to humor and satire.

Specifically, he noted that these experiences in comedy, including his time on SNL, have contributed to him finding his voice.

Jost explained that he hopes the college audiences he performs for will also grow with him.

“It’s an audience that would hopefully be with me a long time in life,” he said. “So it’s nice to connect with them when they’re in college.”

It seems as though a number of students enjoyed Jost’s performance.

“Colin Jost seemed very natural on stage and you can get a sense that he is very naturally funny even when not performing,” saind Anthony Bonuccelli, sophomore English major.

Daniella Coffaro, Junior biology major, highlighted her interest in the contrast between Jost’s on-screen persona and his performance.

“It was so great seeing him go from the screen to our school and being able to see him beyond the news segment from SNL,” she said. “He was absolutely hysterical and there was never a dull moment.”

Julie Trien can be reached at julie.trien@student.shu.edu.

Author: Julie Trien

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