He's Colin Jost, and you're not. Ever since the days of Chevy Chase, Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" anchor job has been a launching pad for some major comedians. Now Jost, 31, has followed the path blazed by Tina Fey and Seth Meyers, going from SNL co-head writer to the faux news desk.
TV Guide Magazine: It seems as though you've been in line for the "Weekend Update" job since you started writing at SNL straight out of Harvard in 2005. Did you have a Seth Meyers voodoo doll in your office?
Jost: No, no, no! I figured it was better for him to leave in one piece than to have something suddenly befall him.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you approach executive producer Lorne Michaels about the "Update" job, or did he approach you?
Jost: Lorne asked me in a very Lorne way. Over the summer, he asked, "Do you think you could do 'Weekend Update'?" And I said, "Yes, I hope I can!" He didn't say anything for a while after that. I think he was just ruminating [on it].
TV Guide Magazine: What's your dynamic like with coanchor Cecily Strong? Is she playing the salty old veteran?
Jost: Yeah, she's really thumbing her nose at me. I don't know where that expression comes from. It seems like the mildest insult. She's been great. She has a performer's confidence, and that's nice to be around. That settles me.
TV Guide Magazine: How do you feel about the big news stories right now — are Crimea and the Malaysian Airlines mystery hard to make funny?
Jost: They seem like stories from 80 years ago. The idea of a plane vanishing sounds like Amelia Earhart, and the idea of Russia annexing Crimea sounds about as modern as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. They're not the easiest things to get into in a single joke.
TV Guide Magazine: Which "Weekend Update" anchors were the biggest influences on you?
Jost: Norm Macdonald — that was the sweet spot for me when I was a viewer in high school. His was a tone I grew up on. Then Tina's persona was deadpan, but her personality came through. You knew what her voice was.
TV Guide Magazine: Has this job always been a dream for you?
Jost: On some level. But you don't always let yourself have that full dream because you're scared it won't happen. If you had asked me, "Would you want to do that?" I always would've said yes. But it's also something I pushed off in my brain for a while, because there were other things I had to do first to get here.
TV Guide Magazine: You grew up on Staten Island. Were you like Melanie Griffith's character, Tess, in Working Girl, staring at Manhattan across the river and dreaming of making it big there?
Jost: Very much. I had a desk floating in the Hudson.
TV Guide Magazine: So are you on the career track to take over Late Night in five or 10 years?
Jost: I'm absolutely not looking that far ahead. I'm looking maybe six weeks ahead at the most. I can't even schedule a doctor's appointment.
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC.
Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!