Colin Jost, SNL, And The Staten Island Summer

colin-410

“Shall we play squash after the horse race?”

Colin Jost doesn’t look like your typical writer.  When I imagine a writer, I think of someone like Dan Harmon.  A bit overweight, some salt and pepper hair due to obsessing over one’s work, and someone who look’s like they would “go at me” on twitter.  Yes, I made Dan Harmon mad on twitter.  But that’s another story.  Colin Jost does not look like he would go at me on twitter.  In fact, he doesn’t look like he would even use twitter that much.  He’s too busy on his yacht wearing designer shades, short swim trunks, and charming the ladies.  Do I have a man crush on Colin Jost?  It sounds like I do.  But, it wasn’t always that way.  I first became aware of Jost on March 1st, 2014, when he stepped behind the famous “Weekend Update” desk at SNL (a show I love dearly).

SNL

Behind The Weekend Update Desk

Behind The Weekend Update Desk

Weekend Update is perhaps the most famous aspect of SNL, simply because it’s been going on so long.  Like the show, everyone has a certain cast member that they identify with the most.  For me, it was always Norm Macdonald.  I loved his dry, sarcastic, “I don’t give a crap” style.  That’s why, at first, I didn’t love Jost.  He had more in common with a baby bird than Norm.  He was obviously nervous, and stiff – two things that will sink a Weekend Update anchor like a, well….  You know.  After doing a bit of research on him, I immediately gained respect and perspective.  He went to Harvard.  HARVARD.  Did you guys realize that was a thing?  I mean, I knew Conan went there, but outside of him there are tons of smart witty writers that went to Harvard for comedy.  That seems crazy right?  But it’s a thing.

Jost, when he was hired at SNL.  I assume..

Jost, when he was hired at SNL at age 22… I assume…

Jost was hired as a writer at SNL shortly after college, at the young age of 22.  That’s bananas.  Think about what you were doing at 22 and try not to get too depressed comparing yourself to Colin.  In a parallel universe, one that is much more kind to me and where I try 1000 percent harder, I AM Colin Jost.  I won Most Likely To Succeed in 8th grade (Ha!  Suck it!) and most humorous in 6th and 7th grades.  If I follow that arc, OF COURSE I go to Harvard and then get hired at SNL at 22.  He also does stand up, and even though it’s hard to pin down who wrote what at SNL, I assume he’s doing well since now he’s a co-head-writer.  But one of the things that helped me gain the most respect for Colin is his Weekend Update hero.  You guess it.  Norm Macdonald.  And darn it, as time passed, it started to show.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 11.04.22 PMI’m not 100 percent sure when it happened, but despite what some idiots on the internet will tell you, Colin Jost figured out Weekend Update.  He has a trademark smirk and delivery that are the perfect tone.  Where he used to come off as nervous and stiff, he now comes off as a sarcastic know it all.  Which is GREAT for what Update tries to do.  Don’t take my word for it.  Check out this clip along with co-host Michael Che (Bonus, there is a hilarious flub in this clip).  I had a recent conversation with my friend and fellow State-Lines contributor Jeremy about how Seth Meyers is going on all cylinders at his late night show.  I agreed and added that I think Colin Jost is really nailing Update.  So there you have it.  It must be true.  He then told me about a movie on Netflix that Jost wrote.  Loosely based on his life, it’s called “Staten Island Summer“.  I was immediately excited and made my wife watch the movie with me.

Staten Island Summer

I won't make a belly flop pun....  Nope.

I won’t make a belly flop pun…. Nope.

I enjoyed Staten Island Summer.  I enjoyed it in the sense that it was a movie (I enjoy most movies). It had some funny parts.  Lots of people in it I recognized.  I watched it in the comfort of air conditioning.  And uh, I guess that’s it?  I know it’s incredibly difficult to write a full movie.  I’m sitting at 682 words right now and it already feels like I’ve used up all my brain power.  So I’m proud of Colin for doing this, and I hope it leads to more, better (and even “more better”) work.  But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you have to rip off every movie ever.  Seriously  Listen to this, my plot synopsis.

Is Jonah Hill available?  He costs THAT much?  Ok let’s just get a Jonah Hill type.  He will be our main characters best friend.  Don’t worry about the main character’s name.  He doesn’t really have a personality  so having a name isn’t that important.  It’s the last summer before main character ships off to Harvard, and he and his best friend want to throw one more party.  Tensions flare up when the friends realize they probably won’t be best friends anymore.

That’s just… That’s Superbad right?  Ok, what about the other characters?

There’s the overweight but somehow attractive stoner.  The tom boy.  The jock who is good with older ladies.  We already mentioned “Jonah Hill Type” and main character.  There’s the jerk boss.  Of course there’s the “hot chick.”  There’s hot chick’s over protective dad.  Oh, and Method Man.  Method Man is in this because there has to be a scene where the white kids get scared by rapper/drug dealers.

I think that’s about it.  I may have missed a few but you get the idea.  Totally generic.  And I cannot stress enough how boring the main character is.  He has a connection with the hot chick ONLY because the script says so.  There’s literally no chemistry there.  There are 2 good things this movie did.  It ended with the main character (spoiler alert) not even really trying to get the girl for the long run.  He left for college and promised his best bud that they would stay as close as possible.  I dug that.  And the other thing is a really cool set piece that serves as the entrance for hot chick (see below).  It was awesome, surreal, and goofy  It made me feel like I was watching a really cool and creative take on the “one last party” movie instead of just the cheap copy it ended up being.

[youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws2Wc-NAnMo]

I don’t recommend Staten Island Summer.  As far as Jost goes, it was a poor first outing from a writing perspective.  He does play a small part in it, and he was pretty funny.  I don’t have a great eye for picking out amazing acting talent, but I’d watch him do it more.  I definitely want him to write more.  I think he has some awesome stuff in him.  And I know I will keep watching him on SNL.  There’s a bright future behind that smirk.

 

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About The Author

Jarrett Haas

Jarrett is co-founder of State-Lines.com, owner of Rule8Media.com, awesome videographer at RelevantChurch.com, creator, dreamer, and all around dude.

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