Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Saturday Night Live head writer and co-anchor of "Weekend Update" Colin Jost came to Cornell to perform on Friday, Feb. 9. His opening act was fellow SNL performer Melissa Villaseñor.

February 11, 2018

Saturday Night Comedians Colin Jost and Melissa Villaseñor Bring Their Show to Cornell

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Cornell University Program Board brought Saturday Night to Ithaca a little early by inviting Saturday Night Live cast members Colin Jost and Melissa Villaseñor for a guest appearance at Bailey Hall on Friday evening.

The night of comedy was hosted by the CUPB, who also hosted #MeToo founder Tarana Burke last week and Daily Show comedian Trevor Noah in September.

Jost and Villaseñor were “confident” choices for the CUPB, which has been working diligently since last semester to plan the night.

“We booked Colin and Melissa last semester after bringing their names to our general body,” said CUPB executive chairperson Daniela Manzano ’19. “We received a really great response and automatically moved forward with booking them.”

Villaseñor, a second-year cast member on SNL, opened for Jost by poking fun at her own voice, saying it sounded like she “ate yarn.”

Villasenor also revealed that she wished she had learned Spanish, as she knew that her grandmother was making fun of her but had no idea what she was saying.

Well known for being the show’s first Latina actress with a talent for impressions, Villasenor ended her routine with singing impressions of the “airy voices” of pop singers Ellie Goulding and Halsey, which were met by laughs from the audience.

“A lot of our shows tend to have smaller names for openers, so getting Melissa Villaseñor as an opener for Colin Jost was also a really great opportunity since she’s popular as well,” Manzano said.

Jost then took the stage, joking that he did not come up to Cornell to do a show, but to rush the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau. The joke, in reference to the recent news that the University placed the fraternity was placed on probationary recognition after conducting a “pig roast” contest, was met with laughter and claps from the filled auditorium.

Jost has been co-anchoring the “Weekend Update” segment of SNL since 2014 and was recently named one of the show’s head writers.

Jost quipped about some of the differences between his alma mater, Harvard, and Cornell and then took out his phone to read some fun facts that he asked the University to send him. He made comments about the Dairy Bar’s ice cream, the invention of the chicken nugget at Cornell and the infamous legend about the statues of Ezra Cornell and A.D. White on the Arts and Sciences Quad.

Speaking on college culture, Jost talked about his own experiences with smoking marijuana and the ensuing paranoia, sharing the story of when he was so high, he was convinced his mother had poisoned him.

He ended his routine by reading a list of ideas he has had for SNL sketches that never came to fruition, including some he pitched for a show hosted by President Trump.

Friday night’s performance inspired some students to attend more of the board’s events.

“The stand-up comedy has definitely motivated me to watch the show now, and continue going to see Cornell speakers,” Anna Brecher ’21 said. “I really want to take advantage of the cool opportunities here, because when else could you see SNL comedians for $17?”

The CUPB is also looking forward to their future events.

“We are currently searching for our next talent to bring — and we are always open to ideas and suggestions,” Manzano said. “We want to bring comedians or speakers that Cornell wants, so we’d really love to hear from Cornell. Ultimately the decision of who we bring is in all of your hands.”

Alisha Gupta ’20 contributed reporting to this article.