Last summer, British newspaper The Independent predicted that stand-up comic Michael Che was “American comedy’s next big thing.” On Monday, it looked like that forecast was right on the money, as Comedy Central named Che the newest correspondent to join The Daily Show.
It didn’t come out of nowhere: Che’s star has been rising steadily for years. Though he only started doing standup in 2010, it wasn’t long before Che was a regular on the New York comedy circuit thanks to his laid-back style and keen observations (sample joke: “If you don’t know what ‘gentrified’ means, it’s basically when a bunch of white people move into a messed up neighborhood and then open up cupcake stores everywhere for some reason.”) It also didn’t hurt that he had a killer work ethic, regularly doing two shows — or more — a day. As he told the New York Times, “I don’t know how you can do comedy once every two weeks. Ever since I started, if I’m off for three days, I got to learn how to do comedy again.”
By 2012, he was named New York’s Funniest Stand-Up and making appearances on John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show and the Late Show with David Letterman.
Che was also one of the many notable comics making appearances on the web comedy network Above Average (backed by Saturday Night Live‘s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels) where, in 2012, he created the character “The Realest Candidate,” a Republican rapper who advocates for a “president that’s going to get us rich — or kill us trying.”
Both “The Realest Candidate” and the television appearances earned Che recognition outside of the five boroughs. It wasn’t long before he was being named one of Rolling Stone‘s “50 Funniest People Now” and one of Variety‘s “10 Comics to Watch,” and taking his stand up overseas with performances in Australia and Scotland.
Then, in 2013, he received his biggest career bump yet when he was hired as a full-time writer on Saturday Night Live. Though he only started with the show last year, during his short time at SNL, Che was the force behind memorable sketches such as the “12 Years A Slave Auditions”:
Che will reportedly wrap up this season of SNL before he joins Jon Stewart and his band of comedic correspondents on satirical news program in June. Also in June: Che’s first solo stand-up special on Comedy Central is coming up. So comedy fans, welcome to the summer of Che.