Colin Jost was both surprised and delighted to find an article about an infected lab monkey that allegedly escaped from its cage in a campus research lab as the first result on Google when he searched “University of Pittsburgh.”
“That picture of the monkey in the article is definitely not the same monkey that escaped the cage,” Jost told the audience in front of him, describing it as looking “too innocent.”
Jost, a co-head writer of Saturday Night Live, visited Pitt’s campus Thursday night as the Pitt Program Council hosted his performance in the fully-packed William Pitt Union Assembly Room. Jost is best known as the current co-anchor of Weekend Update, a SNL satirical sketch recalling the latest current events. He is the recipient of four Writers Guild Awards, a Peabody Award and nine Emmy award nominations.
Before Jost came on stage, the event began with an opening act by senior computer engineering major and head writer of Pitt Tonight, Phil Forrence. Forrence started his performance by talking about his first encounter with Jost — which was just moments before.
“I met Colin in the fitting room. Yeah, I call him Colin,” Forrence said. “He’s a funny guy.”
Forrence kicked off the jokes for the night by sharing with the audience that he is a big fan of milk, and asked if other people were also fans, with a few audience members clapping and cheering.
“If you’re antimilk, we can take it outside, and I would win because I have stronger bones,” Forrence said.
Forrence joked about how his aunt once ran out of milk in the house, and he was given special Christmas milk, only to have his mom tell him that the “special” milk was heavy creamer.
Once Forrence ended his act, Jost came on and told the audience to give Forrence another round of applause when he took the stage. After pulling out his phone and reading about the infected monkey, he then launched into a story about a time he went grocery shopping stoned.
Shortly after smoking marijuana one evening, Jost said he became hungry and went to a store nearby to get food. He picked out a bag of roasted chicken and started to worry that the cashier would notice he was high if that was all he bought. He figured he’d look less suspicious if he grabbed a box of 24 granola bars. Still worrying that the cashier would notice he was high, he went to the snack aisle and grabbed a single packaged brownie.
“Sir, just check out. I know you’re high. We closed 15 minutes ago,” the cashier eventually said to Jost.
Jost also described some of his own college experiences during his performance. While a student at Harvard, he always went to bed late at night and woke up late in the day while his roommate usually went to bed and woke up very early. Jost acted out the way his roommate would try — but fail — to stay quiet while getting ready for class while Jost was still asleep. He started banging his microphone on the ground to represent the sound his roommate would make anytime he would try to look for something in their dorm.
“Don’t you love having roommates?” Jost said.
Mary Roche, a sophomore political science major, said she came to see Jost because she is a big fan of his Weekend Update segment on SNL. She said she easily related to his quips about his former roommate since she had been in a similar predicament before.
“I liked how all of the jokes related to Colin’s life specifically, and the roommate joke was really funny,” she said.
Undecided first year Gina Watkins is also a fan of Weekend Update and came to see one of its stars live.
“I like how both performances were realistic because I enjoy realistic comedy,” she said.
Jost concluded his performance by sharing some of the skit ideas he pitched on Saturday Night Live in past episodes with the audience. Examples included “city pants,” where people who ruin their pants are able to pick up new pants off the street while on the go. When Elton John hosted SNL, Jost pitched an idea where John would pretend to be Weird Al and sing parodies of his own songs.
Before he left the stage, he rallied the audience one last time.
“You guys were a great audience. Go Panthers,” Jost said.