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Colin Jost Says His SNL Joke Swaps with Michael Che Feel "Terrifying and Exhilarating"

"It's definitely a reminder to not be afraid of trying things," Jost told podcast host Bruce Bozzi ahead of hosting the 2024 White House Correspondents' Dinner. 

By Christopher Rudolph

Pull up a chair, because you're invited to lunch with Colin Jost.

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The Saturday Night Live writer and "Weekend Update" co-anchor sat down for an informal meal on the April 16 episode of the iHeart podcast Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi. While Jost is preparing to host the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday, April 27, he took time to sit down with his friend for a chat about everything from bonding his son with Scarlett Johansson to an update on the ferry he bought with fellow Staten Island native Pete Davidson ("it's definitely going to start with a party," Jost says). 

Jost also shed some light on the origins of his "Weekend Update" joke swap segments with Michael Che, a semi-regular tradition of forcing each other to read lines meant to shock each other (and the audience). Jost admitted that reading the jokes cold — truly for the first time — on live television is "both terrifying and exhilarating."

RELATED: Every "Weekend Update" Host Through the Years

"It's kind of a crazy. There's just not a lot of live television in the world anymore," Jost said. "So the idea that you're on live television and you have to say something and you don't know what it is, that's pretty crazy –– and it's not usually gentle."

"I'm someone who can also be really in my head a lot of times, and it definitely gets you out of your head," Jost added. "I really like that."

Colin Jost and Michael Che during the Weekend Update.

Swapping jokes with Michael Che on SNL is "both terrifying and exhilarating" for Colin Jost

As for how the first Joke Swap happened back in December 2018, "we didn't really have an idea for it, and then we just kind of tried it and it became that," Jost told Bozzi.

"It's definitely a reminder to not be afraid of trying things," said Jost, adding that at SNL, due to the need to cut for time after rehearsals, you often "only get one shot to try something."

Jost's interview on Table for Two is a full-circle moment for his family, since his wife, actress Scarlett Johansson, was Bozzi's first guest on the podcast back in December 2022.

In addition to joining Bozzi for a lobster lunch, Jost has been even busier than usual this spring. In addition his SNL duties, he'll be hosting the 2024 White House Correspondents' Dinner on April 27 in Washington, D.C.

RELATED: Colin Jost Is Set to Host the 2024 White House Correspondents' Dinner

"A night of laughs and reflections as our dinner honors freedom of the press as a cornerstone of American democracy. I am beyond excited to welcome one of NBC’s brightest stars to one of Washington’s greatest traditions," said Kelly O’Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and NBC News Senior White House Correspondent, when Jost was announced as this year's host.

Listen to the full episode of Table for Two with Colin Jost now.

Watch every "Weekend Update" joke swap

Jost and Che's Joke Swaps are a rare gift — that's what makes them so special — and they typically, though not always, arrive in the show's Christmas episode. Watch six of the Joke Swap segments below.

Colin Jost and Michael Che Swap Jokes: December 2018

The audience's delight at hearing the joke swap concept explained for the first time is matched by Jost and Che's charmingly-evident nervousness. It was a hit.

Colin Jost and Michael Che Switch Jokes: May 2019

"The idea, Michael, isn't to sabotage each other, it's just to give each other fun jokes," Jost said in the intro for the segment from the Season 44 finale.

"Uh huh," Che responded. "Why don't you go first?"

Christmas Joke Swap 2019

Christmas Joke Swap 2020

The gift that keeps on giving.

Colin Jost and Michael Che Swap Jokes for Season 46 Finale

Christmas Joke Swap 2023

During Kate McKinnon's Christmas episode, Jost and Che added a twist to this round: Michael Che sat a fictional poet and civil rights activist named Dr. Hattie Davis (played by an actress) to witness Jost put his foot in his mouth.

Weekend Update: Christmas Joke Swap 2023