When Seth Meyers did his final Weekend Update newscast on February 1st, he retired from the desk as the longest-tenured anchor to ever hold the position. At 7.5 seasons, he comfortably passed Tina Fey and Dennis Miller, who held the gig for six seasons each. Throughout his run, Meyers was somewhat polarizing, mostly for, well, how un-polarizing he was. To some, he represented Safeness, a thinner, younger Jay Leno who thrived on apolitical humor, and refused to ever truly rock the boat. Others enjoyed his nerdy, boyish charm, and his legendary interactions with Stefon. But whether you liked Meyers or not, he stabilized the Update desk unlike anyone else. That's why his departure is such a big deal, and why Colin Jost, who takes Meyers place alongside Cecily Strong, has a difficult task ahead of him.
Since Chevy Chase did Weekend Update on the first ever Saturday Night Live episode on October 11th 1975, 21 people have had a gig at the Update desk (22 if you count the two episodes where Horatio Sanz filled in for a pregnant Tina Fey, but no one wants to remember that, so let's not). Some of them like Chase, Dennis Miller, and Norm MacDonald, are remembered quite fondly, while the likes of Brad Hall and Brian Doyle-Murray are barely remembered at all. Over the next few years, we'll see which group Jost and Strong wind up falling into.
So, what makes someone a good Update anchor? Obviously, the material needs to work, but what matters more is personality. On any given week, as the writers are throwing on their best jokes on the news of the week, some lines are going to work better than others. The key is having an anchor with a recognizable personality, who can sell the good jokes, and come up with a fast ad-lib during the bad ones. That's why the segment became so popular when Chase introduced it 39 years ago. Between his popular catchphrases ("I'm Chevy Chase and you're not," "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead."), and his generally likable goofball personality, he wasn't just a generic news-anchor type who happened to be telling jokes, but an actual Fake News personality. READ MORE