During this weekend’s virtual taping of Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update co-host and writer Michael Che revealed that his grandmother Martha had recently passed away after being diagnosed with COVID-19. “As you know Colin, I lost my grandmother this week, and coming back to work really made me feel better — especially with you,” he told Colin Jost before guilting him into telling a racially-charged joke during the recurring “Joke Swap” segment. Che called it his grandmother’s “favorite part of the show” before later disclosing that she never watched SNL, “I just wanted you to do that.”
To honor his late grandmother, Che is paying one month’s rent for all 160 residents of her New York City public housing complex.
“It’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work,” Che wrote on Instagram on Wednesday (there are over 111,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City alone, with nearly 7,000 deaths). “Obviously I can’t offer much help by myself. But in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I’m paying one month’s rent for all 160 apartments in the New York Housing Dept. building she lived in. I know that’s just a drop in the bucket, so I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, at the very least.” He then asked the three titans of New York City politics — Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, and Diddy — to “fix this.” You can read the message below.