Saturday Night Live Weekend Update co-host Michael Che is honoring the memory of his grandmother by paying the rent for 160 residents of her New York City public housing complex.
Che’s grandmother, Martha, died recently of coronavirus complications.
“It’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work,” Che wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “Obviously I can’t offer much help by myself. But in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I’m paying one month’s rent for all 160 apartments in the New York Housing Dept. building she lived in.
“I know that’s just a drop in the bucket, so I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, at the very least.”
Che did not provide a figure for his donation total, but the New York City Housing Authority said as of 2018 that the average rent was $522 per month, the exact total depending on a tenant’s income and size of their apartment.
Che also urged some New York leaders to join his efforts.
“PS: De Blasio! Cuomo! Diddy! Let’s fix this! Page me!”
Che spoke about his grandmother during last week’s SNL Weekend Update, which was remotely filmed.
“As you know, Colin, I lost my grandmother this week,” he told co-host Colin Jost. “And coming back to work really made me feel better, especially with you.”
Che then leveraged that into getting Jost to do their “joke swap” segment, wherein they make their opposite say a joke the other wrote for them. Che said it was his grandmother’s favorite part of the show.
Jost played along, but the joke was on him. Che revealed his grandmother “has never seen this show. I just wanted you to do that.” He then signed off as “Martha’s grand baby.”
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