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Michael Che Says It’s a ‘Bummer’ That His 2016 Black Lives Matter Joke Is Still Relevant

In addition to featuring writer Amber Ruffin in a short segment recapping some of her experiences with racist police, Seth Meyers had a chat with Saturday Night Live co–head writer Michael Che during last night’s Late Night to reflect on the killing of George Floyd, the resulting protests around the country, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Che chatted with Meyers about his “Black Lives Matter” bit from his 2016 Netflix special Michael Che Matters, which gets passed so much he finds it bittersweet, “because I’m happy that people like the clip, but it’s also kind of a bummer that it’s still relevant.” Che said the continued presence of the clip online makes him feel like “the guy who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’: You’re happy you hear the song, but every time you hear it you’re like ‘Oh no, what happened?’” (If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the clip below.)

Che also gave Meyers some insight on how the Black Lives Matter movement feels different now, particularly in response to “All Lives Matter” types. “After a while, you stop worrying about why they don’t want to give it to you and you get to the point where you just demand it,” he told Meyers. “We’ve been asking for so long that people are at a point where they don’t want to ask anymore, and that’s kind of the reality and it’s sad.” Even though two of Che’s brothers are in the NYPD, he said he hasn’t dialed 911 in his life, because “I have a feeling that they’re not for me, and it’s a really sad, unfortunate thing that you don’t realize until you come across people who don’t feel that way.”

Near the end of the clip, Che expressed some optimism but conflicted feelings around the protests. “It’s coming across as extremely destructive, but I do think if they channeled it that they can get a lot done that generations before them couldn’t get done,” he said. He said it’s “one of those rare times where you don’t have to speak for the community because the community is actually speaking for themselves louder than they ever have … It’s really up to this younger generation who’s tearing stuff apart. I hope something good comes of it.”

Michael Che Looks Back on His 2016 Black Lives Matter Joke