10:37am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
Michael Che Reveals How Tracy Morgan Helped Him Become Better Stand-Up Comic
Michael Che revealed the advice that Tracy Morgan gave him to become a better stand-up comic when he joined Jimmy Fallon for a sit-down at The Comedy Cellar during Monday's episode of The Tonight Show.
"One time I was opening for Tracy Morgan, and I remember I didn't really know him know him. I just was opening," he explained. "I had a good set, I thought."
Following Morgan's set, the comic joined Che and others in the green room backstage. "Tracy comes offstage and everybody's congratulating him," he recalled. "And then he's like, 'Everybody get out. Get out — except for you.' And I'm like, 'What did I do?'"
Once everyone cleared out of the room, Morgan closed the door and told Che, "We got to work on your act."
"No one's ever told me that before," he said. "He was like, 'Look, you are hosting this show. You stand in front of the microphone. You got to move that mic. Get that mic out of there. You gotta work the stage.'"
In addition to encouraging Che to move around the stage, he told him about a hot spot to stand on. "He's literally schooling me on how to emcee a show in real time," he said. "And he's telling me everything I did — like, he watched. He told me every single thing I did, and what I needed to do."
"It was kind of maybe the coolest advice because it was real. He wasn't trying to protect my feelings. He was trying to make me a better comic," Che continued. "It meant a lot. It was very thoughtful that he would even take the time to say something like that."
Later in the segment, Che opened up about how his experience in stand-up has influenced his role as a co-host on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update."
He said that stand-up "certainly can" help with the job. "It definitely sharpens your brain to get that first take," he said. "Once you hear the story, you kind of know exactly where the comedy is."
Che added that SNL relies on timing due to the fact that it is filmed live. "Doing 'Update' with someone else, the camera's off you as soon as the joke is told so you don't really get to milk it. You don't really get to finesse it, so it's a little bit harder," he said.
"There's a lot of things about stand-up you have to unlearn, but there's a lot of things in stand-up that really helps," he concluded.
Watch the full conversation below.