Q&A: SNL’s Colin Jost talks about career as comedian, life as writer

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Colin Jost, writer and “Weekend Update” anchor for Saturday Night Live (SNL), visited campus Thursday night for an evening of laughter at the Rathskeller, where he performed stand-up comedy.

After his performance, The Miami Hurricane had a chance to chat with Jost to hear about his experience in comedy.

See More: Video recap of the night SNL’s Colin Jost, comedian Chris Killian came to Miami

The Miami Hurricane: In your stand-up, you talked a lot about things from Miami, but you’re not from Miami. How do you work that into your material?

Colin Jost: I like getting to a town a little bit early and walking, just seeing the town a little bit. So I came earlier today. I like acclimating myself … Think about, “What’s something funny I ran into?” Usually, it’s the kind of things that you run into if you live here or go to school here. You see the same weird things that I see as a tourist. That’s what I try to think of when I come.

TMH: Your set also included jokes that were more general. How do you pick what you’re going to say?

Jost: Some of it I will always do, some of it I’ll occasionally do and think, “This joke might be fun to try tonight; I haven’t tried this joke in a while.” So I did probably an hour tonight, and I might have two or three hours of material in general. Each night, I might mix it up and do different things and things that I think might be interesting to people.

TMH: Did you work on comedy in college? Where did you get started?

Jost: That’s what I mainly did in college… comedy writing. I wrote for this magazine called the “Harvard Lampoon,” and that was big for me, because that was a whole group of people who were all looking to do comedy. And I always think you’re better off getting into a group where everyone else wants to do the same thing and is kind of serious about it, even though they’re goofing around a lot… We all drove each other to get better. It was kind of a healthy competition.

TMH: What inspired you to go from behind the camera to in front of the camera? How did that happen?

Jost: I had been performing for most of my life. So I did Speech and Debate all through high school and did a lot of plays, musical theater, and as soon as I started SNL, I started doing stand-up. So I always wanted to do that, because I kind of missed it. For a while, I was writing. The job was so hard, writing, that I kind of went away from it for a few years … So I did more and more and realized I want to be on camera, because that’s part of who I’ve always been. So it nice; it was kind of liberating to do that.

TMH: What are you doing before you leave town?

Jost: I don’t know what I’m going to do tonight. I might see a friend who’s from here. He grew up here. Tomorrow, I’m trying to enjoy the warmth and sunshine and a pool while I can. Because when I go back, it’s kind of, like, over for a while. So I’m trying to do that. And if I’ll get some golf in, or some surfing, I’ll do it. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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