“SNL" star responds to viral catcalling video with street harassment joke

Michael Che offers sarcastic defense of creepy behavior with mini-rant

Published October 29, 2014 5:50PM (EDT)

   (Arthur Mola/invision/ap)
(Arthur Mola/invision/ap)

Comedian Michael Che -- new "Weekend Update" anchor and former "Daily Show" correspondent -- is under fire for posting a clueless joke about street harassment to social media. Che was responding to the viral street harassment PSA released by actress Shoshana B. Roberts and Rob Bliss.

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i just saw the catcalling video & i am disgusted.

A photo posted by @chethinks on

Clearly comedy is often used as a method to explore topical and uncomfortable subjects -- to both confront and understand them -- but this joke reveals that Che doesn't quite understand what is so problematic about street harassment: Men feeling entitled to direct their unsolicited thoughts at women -- often but not limited to comments on their appearance or asking them to smile. Needless to say, this is very different from Che being recognized as a celebrity/public figure and being asked to take a photo.

Che later tweeted that many misunderstood his joke.

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Shortly after he posted this non-apology-apology:

[embedtweet id="527513070348677120"]

i just read my instagram. i am DISGUSTED.

A photo posted by @chethinks on


I wonder what his former "Daily Show" cast-member Jessica Williams would think? Earlier this month she starred in the segment "Jessica's Feminized Atmosphere" that lambasted the practice of catcalling.

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Instagram Joke Michael Che Sexual Harassment Snl Street Harassment The Daily Show Twitter Women