If we’re being honest, things are going really well for Michael Che these days. You may know him as the Emmy-nominated co-head writer and Weekend Update anchor on SNL. You may also know him as a thought-provoking, irreverent stand up comedian. Or, if you’ve been paying attention the past two years, you probably know him as the creator of the sketch series That Damn Michael Che on HBO Max. All of those titles let you know how talented he is, but it’s the sketch show–whose first season premiered last spring and second season premiered last month and where Che features sketches critiquing, praising and explaining Blackness in America–that allows him to put his full self on display.
No, seriously… the first two seasons of the series has explored everything from the effects of unemployment to the everyday occurrences of racial profiling, all in a way that is designed to make you think often and laugh uncomfortably. This current season supplies a lot of laugh out loud moments along with a few cringe worthy scenes that you will be talking about long after the episode’s closing credits roll. Below are four reasons why you should be watching the revolutionary series from the perspective of that damn Michael Che.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Policin'”
Che didn’t waste any time before giving commentary of one of America’s biggest unsolved problem. In the pilot episode, Che is stuck in an elevator where he and a white woman have an unpleasant encounter. If that weren’t enough, another sketch features a Black son telling his Black mother that he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. Watching that first episode let us know right out of the gate that this wasn’t going to be anything close to what he does on SNL. It was rawer. Realer. And proved he was ready for this spotlight.
Season 1, Episode 3: “Dudley Gets Shot”
Here’s where the series really got me hooked, taking us back to the 70s and 80s with a “very special episode” centering on Che attempting to help a friend who was shot without getting the law involved, just because he knows things might get worse if he does. Save Dudley!!! Another sketch features a workout craze that takes over the nation, and what happens next.
Season 2, Episode 1: “Join the Club”
The second season picks up on a subject that seems to be the current trend: canceling celebrities. The opening scene sees Che witnessing a man in distress on a subway platform and somehow being linked to said victim, and then canceled. The rest of the episode takes us on a ride that culminates with the most over the top, yet fulfilling sight gag that will definitely have you cringing while wrestling with whether cancel culture is even worth the energy we seem to give it.
Season 2, Episode 3: “Black Mediocrity”
There are other episodes that could’ve made this list, like “Intervention” where Che is confronted by a room full of ex-girlfriends, all of whom take the time to let him know where he went wrong. Again and again. Or Season 1’s “Only Built 4 Leather Suits,” where he attempts confession and appears on a talk show before his appearance at Madison Square Garden. However, this episode, entitled “Black Mediocrity,” features Che is full um, costume, as he curates a brunch celebrating Black Excellence. Plus, the other sketch that made me laugh out loud where the Black Panthers are recruited to help a Black man get a bank loan. All of it goes wrong. Of course.
Seasons 1 and 2 of That Damn Michael Che! are currently streaming on HBO Max.