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Michael Che called Caitlyn Jenner a "fella" and referred to her as her former name during the live broadcast

By Jodi Guglielmi
October 28, 2019 12:09 PM
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Saturday Night Live star Michael Che is in hot water after making a crack about Caitlyn Jenner that many fans deemed transphobic.

During the “Weekend Update” segment of Saturday night’s show, Che joked about Kanye West‘s new, religious public persona by comparing him to Jenner, joking that the rapper is turning into an “old white lady.”

“At first I thought Kanye was losing his mind, and now I feel like he’s fine, he’s just turning into an old white lady,” he said while referencing West’s plans to alter his old songs to feature less provocative lyrics. “I mean, he used to be one of the coolest black dudes on Earth. Now he’s showing up to events in sweatpants and orthopedic sneakers, listening to Kenny G and trying to get black people to like Trump. It’s like, how long before this guy changes his name to Kathy?”

Che, 36, then turned his attention to West’s wife Kim Kardashian‘s former step-parent Jenner, who publicly came out as transgender in 2015. The comedian referred to the Olympian as a “fella” and showed a photo of her before her transition.

“Now, you might think that I’m crazy, but about five years ago, there was a fella named Bruce Jenner, and he moved to Calabasas … ” he said before trailing off.

Michael Che, Caitlyn Jenner
Michael Che and Caitlyn Jenner
| Credit: John Shearer/Getty; Amanda Edwards/Getty

In NBC’s clip above, there was a mixture and laughter and groans. Che’s co-host Colin Jost covered his face and added, “That’s pretty much ended, yeah that’s great.”

After the joke aired on live television, fans expressed their outrage on social media.

“Trans women are women , even Caitlyn Jenner,” wrote one social media user.

Some fans even called for Che’s resignation.

“Time for Michael Che to go. No time for your transphobic garbage,” wrote a viewer.

“Can nbc fire michael che’s transphobic a–,” wrote another.

Che has not yet responded to the backlash. PEOPLE is out to NBC for comment.

Jenner also hasn’t addressed the joke.

The call for Che to be fired comes just over a month after SNL axed comedian Shane Gillis before he’d even made his debut for making a racial slur.

Just hours after SNL announced that Gillis would be joining the show, a controversial clip from September 2018 began to circulate online. “Chinatown’s f—— nuts,” Gillis said in the clip. “Let the f—— ch— live there,” he added.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” an SNL spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of show creator Lorne Michaels.

“We want SNLto have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL,” the statement continued.

“We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable,” the statement reads. “We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”