Saturday Night Live devotees know that "Weekend Update" co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che have a longstanding tradition — each year, they "swap jokes," meaning that each host writes some jokes for the other to read without giving them a chance to see it beforehand. The two stars did just that during the Dec. 20 episode, which was the last 2020 installment of the show. However, Colin Jost's bold SNL joke about Scarlett Johansson's movie roles was particularly juicy given that the actor is his real-life wife.
The pointed punchline was part of the final zinger that Che wrote for his co-host, and it clearly took Jost by surprise.
"It was announced that Creed singer Scott Stapp will play Frank Sinatra in an upcoming movie," Jost said as he read off a series of cue cards. "But the good news is Sammy Davis Jr. will be played by Scarlett Johansson."
Che's joke about Johansson playing a Black man called out the actor's series of casting controversies in recent years. She drew heat for white-washing when she played the lead role in the 2017 movie Ghost in the Shell, since the story was adapted from a Japanese manga series featuring an East Asian main character.
More recently, Johansson backed out of playing a transgender man in the upcoming film Rub & Tug after facing backlash for saying that she should be allowed to play "any person, or any tree, or any animal" when the LGBTQ community criticized her for taking the role over a trans actor.
The actor's strange remarks about which roles she should be allowed to take are no secret and they've become popular jokes fodder on Twitter, but seeing Johansson's husband being forced to deliver a burn about her on live TV had Saturday Night Live viewers buzzing.
Regardless of Che's biting joke, it's been a big year for Jost and Johansson. The couple had an intimate wedding ceremony in October, following their engagement in April 2019 after two years of dating. Jost told Entertainment Tonight that he met his now-wife on SNL in 2006, before the pair started dating in 2017. Hopefully he won't have to read too many more jokes about her in 2021!