“Saturday Night Live” is sending “Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che on a special assignment to host a four-week prime-time summer series covering news events before the show returns in the fall.
The half-hour “Weekend Update: Summer Edition” will air live at 9 p.m. ET for the next four Thursdays on NBC.
It hasn’t even been three months since “SNL’s” season finale, but it feels like a lifetime given the current, crazed news cycle.
Consider just some of the events the show wasn’t on air to poke fun at: Trump’s “covfefe” tweet, James Comey’s congressional testimony, news of Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner meeting with a Russian lawyer, Chris Christie’s beach trip, the GOP’s failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, O.J. Simpson being granted parole, Sean Spicer’s departure, and the rise and fall of Anthony Scaramucci.
“Missing Scaramucci was sort of like missing Christmas,” Jost told NBC News about the now former White House communications director, whose brief tenure included a profanity-filled interview with The New Yorker.
So, is there any chance of a Scaramucci appearance on the prime-time show?
“There’s always a chance,” Jost teased.
“Weekend Update: Summer Edition” will be a mix of traditional behind-the-desk jokes, features and guest appearances from cast members and possibly other special guests.
“This gives us a little more runway to have some more fun,” Che said.
“It will be a little looser than normal,” Jost said. “It’s summer and our brains aren’t really working yet, so it will be a little looser. Michael wants to do Hawaiian shirts.”
The summer show will continue to take advantage of being live to make last-minute additions to address breaking news that happens before show time.
“That’s the thing about this show, we’re always kind of figuring it out as the week plays out,” Che said. “Since it’s news, you never know. Sometimes we have to scrap a whole show just to do another one because something big happened.”
“Weekend Update” has been a staple of “SNL” since the late night comedy institution’s first episode in 1975, with Chevy Chase in the anchor seat. Che and Jost — who’ve shared anchor duties since 2014 — also appeared on MSNBC during coverage of the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Last season was the show’s most-watched in 24 years, with 26 percent more viewers than the previous year, according to NBC. Much credit for the ratings boost goes to the show’s unwavering satire of the Trump administration, particularly Alec Baldwin’s buzzworthy portrayal of the president.
“SNL” racked up 22 Emmy nominations for its 42nd season — tying HBO’s “Westworld” for the most nominations of the year — including a best supporting actor nod for Baldwin, despite the fan favorite not being an official cast member.
Baldwin’s turn as Trump and other celebrity cameos have inspired Twitter users to tweet “SNL” casting suggestions each time a new Trump staffer makes news. Fans recently rallied on Twitter for “Sex and the City” alum Mario Cantone to play Scaramucci, and earlier this year fans tweeted their desire to see long-time Trump foe Rosie O’Donnell as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — a role so far played by cast member Mikey Day dressed as the Grim Reaper.
Celebrities even began using Twitter to throw their own hats in the ring. “Scrubs” star Zach Braff and “House of Cards” actor Michael Kelly both recently tweeted their desire to portray Trump adviser Stephen Miller on the show.
But Jost cautions that Twitter auditions are not the best way to land the part.
“If you’re a celebrity who wants to play someone, I feel like the worst approach is to tweet out something about wanting to play them,” he said, citing one of the show’s most popular surprise cameos.
“When Melissa (McCarthy) did Spicer the first time,” Jost said, “it took people a solid minute to process, ‘Wait, is that Melissa McCarthy dressed as Sean Spicer?’ And that’s fun.”
“Yeah, it’s fun when it’s a surprise,” Che agreed. “I think people like when it’s a surprise. But we also understand why they’re playing along.”
Jost and Che both said they enjoy seeing fans tweet about the show.
“It’s fun that people are involved,” Che said. “The show’s been on 42 seasons and people are still excited about it. That’s cool as hell.”
“SNL” has not yet announced its season 43 premiere date. The show typically returns in late September or early October.
Article originally posted by NBC News.