Culture, Q & A + Profiles

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

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.

October 23, 2015


S Molly Dominick

Hallee Meltzer

Hallee Meltzer can be reached at

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.