Tag Archives: Michael Che

Good News Friday: An 11-year-old girl in South Dakota touches hearts with her letters to postal workers. John Krasinski’s star-studded graduation party is awesome. And an “SNL” star pays rent for an entire building

Happy Friday, my fellow Earthlings! As I sit here thrilled that it’s spring and that this Sunday is Mother’s Day, when we honor the millions of amazing Moms who help us all through our lives, I have a very special story to share at the beginning of Good News Friday.

I’m usually pretty excited about all the Good News Friday stories I share, because if I wasn’t, well, why would I share them?

But this one… this one moved me a great deal. I love enterprising, creative kids, and I love the United States Postal Service, and those two loves don’t normally coincide.

But I read this week about an incredible 11-year-old girl in South Dakota named Emerson Weber. Her Dad, through a wonderful series of Tweets, talked about how Emerson’s obsession with writing letters, and her kinship with their local postman, led to something amazing happened.

Here, in paragraph form, are all the Tweets from her father Hugh about what happened. Please, please, I implore you, stick with this through the end, it’ll restore your faith in humanity and goodness.

So, so wonderful…

Emerson, my 11-year-old, is on a bit of a wild ride with the @USPS and our local mail carrier, Doug. And, I think there’s a deeper message to it all.

First, the backstory… Em has a serious letter writing habit. She maintains active correspondence with over a dozen of her favorite people. And, if you’ve been the lucky recipient of one of Em’s hand decorated letters and envelopes, then you have a pretty good idea of the joy they bring.

A letter from Emerson is likely to include some art, a joke or two, a mention of her younger brother, confessions of her love for Taylor Swift and enough questions to guarantee a response. 
So, when she decided to thank our mail carrier for the service he provides us, she left nothing out. In went Taylor Swift, in went the little brother, in went the jokes.
Q: Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?
A: Because they’re really good at it. 
Em wrote, “I’m Emerson. You may know me as the person that lives here that writes a lot of letters & decorated the envelopes. Well, I wanted to thank you for taking my letters and delivering them. You are very important to me. I make people happy with my letters, but you do too.” 
She continued, “The reason you are very important in my life is because I don’t have a phone so how else am I supposed to stay in touch with my friends? You make it possible!” ‘
She put it in the box, smiled when he took it & that was enough.
The next day a package arrived with some stamps and two letters.
Doug had shared Em’s letter with his supervisor, Sara, and they both wanted to share how touched they were by her note.
Sara said that, as an essential worker, Doug might not be able to maintain regular correspondence, but she sure could. Em started writing that very afternoon. 
This is when things get interesting. The next week, we got a letter address to “Mr and Mrs Weber.” It seems that Sara had shared Em’s note as a “Token of Thanks” in the internal newsletter for the Western US and there were some postal folks that wanted to thank her.
Today, we saw Doug getting out of the truck with two BOXES of letters from around the country. We snapped a quick photo through the door as he and Emerson met for the first time. It was a beautiful moment on silent reciprocity.
These letters are so deeply human. They are filled with family, pets, hobbies, community and an overwhelming sense of kindness.

Because Em was fully vulnerable, they were too.

Em shared jokes, so they shared jokes.
Em share her brother, so every gift that was sent came in duplicate.
Em shared @TaylorSwift13 and it turns out that the US Postal service is filled with lots of undercover Swifties. 

One maintenance manager from Minnesota wanted to inspire her to start collecting stamps so he sent along two stamps of his own from the bulletin board in his office to start her collection.
And, they sent stamps to be used as well. Stamps for her to write back. Stamps for her to write others. Stamps, stamps, stamps. (218 by Em’s count.)

But, there was something more in these letters. People felt seen – some for the first time in a long time.

“I work alone in a small rural post office…”
“My kids all live far away…”
“Not a lot of people think about how hard we work…” 

One wrote,
“I can’t tell you how much it means to read your letter…”
Another,“I have a son in Kuwait and if you have a second to send him a letter he would love it.”
And another,
“I know you can’t write back to all of us, but maybe I can drop you a line from time to time?” 
With dozens of new pen pals, Em did what she does best.
She wrote the dad.
She wrote his son.
She assured the secret swifties not to be embarrassed because her dad likes TSwift, too.
She acknowledged that there WERE a lot of letter but that she had time.
She sees them all.
Moral of the story: it’s the small things that matter most, friends. 
Send a letter. Make a call. Practice self care. Take a step of boldness.
For yourself or for others.
And, thank your mail carrier (from an appropriate distance.) They are working extremely hard to keep us all connected. 
And, if any of you are feeling isolated, anxious, scared or depressed, those feelings are valid.

**Next up today, the great John Krasinski web show “Some Good News” struck gold again this week, by hosting a virtual graduation with some very famous friends speaking, sometimes 1-on-1, to graduates.

Spielberg, Oprah, Malala, they’re all here. This was wonderful. (It’s great the whole way, but it gets really special around the 11-minute mark.)

***And finally today, this is a story I’d been meaning to put in this space weeks ago, forgot about, then remembered on Thursday. So it’s a few weeks old, but still fabulous.

Michael Che is one of the co-hosts of “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live.” His grandmother died of complications from Covid-19 in March, and 10 days after her passing, Che announced that he’s doing something to honor his grandma—paying rent for the month for all 160 units in the public housing complex his grandmother used to live in in New York.

In response to a comment, Che explained that his grandmother had lived in the New York City Housing Authority building more than three decades ago, before moving south. But, he wrote, “it’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work. ”

Outstanding job, Michael. Your grandma would be very proud.

A surprise and awesome marriage proposal, and some wins for “The Americans” save a painfully awful Emmy Awards. And a pretty incredible soccer goal from Zlatan

They moved the Emmy Awards, always my favorite awards show, to Monday night this year. I’m not sure why, but it apparently has gone down as the least-watched Emmy telecast ever.

Having sat through the whole thing, I can say that it deserved to be. Except for a few moments of awesomeness which I’ll get to in a minute, this was three hours of drab, boring, painfully unfunny television show.

The hosts, Michael Che and Colin Jost from “Saturday Night Live” were just not any good. Their monologue jokes fell flat, they had no energy, and they never really gave a good reason why they were chosen as hosts. Just boring, vanilla stuff.

— OK for one thing, they spent the first 20 minutes of the show, in the monologue and after, talking about how these were the most diverse Emmys ever, it’s so amazing we have this diversity, etc. And then the first EIGHT major awards went to white people.

I mean, the writers of the Emmys broadcast couldn’t have known it was going to happen that way, but it was pretty hilarious and embarrassing.

— Is there a rule that Fred Armisen still has to be on TV a lot? I cannot for the life of me understand why people think that dude is funny.

— Yeah I may be the only person ever to say this and complain about it, but the speeches felt rushed and way too short. This is the moment of a lifetime for these winners, I’m all about giving them a few minutes of shine time.

–OK, on to the good stuff. Well of course the No. 1 highlight was when Glen Weiss, who won for best director of a variety special, shocked the audience and his girlfriend, Jan, by proposing live on air during his victory speech. (video above) Can’t decide which shocked reaction I liked best: Jan’s, Leslie Jones in the audience, or Sterling K. Brown’s up on stage. So, so great.

— Hallelujah, praise Jesus, and all the rest: Finally, finally, FINALLY, “The Americans” won some Emmys. One of the greatest dramas of all time was long overdue, and after its final season it was finally given some props.

The show’s creators, Joe Fields and Joel Weisberg, won for best writing, and Matthew Rhys won for best actor. It’s a crime against humanity that Keri Russell never won best actress for her fierce, phenomenal portrayal of Elizabeth Jennings, but what can you do. She knows, and the fans know, that she was amazing.

But man, everybody said “Game of Thrones” was down this year, and if “The Americans” could’ve won Best Drama, hell, I would’ve ignored how bad most of the rest of the telecast was.

— Betty White is 96 years old, came out on stage, and spoke and was grateful, and everyone applauded. It was beautiful.

— Thrilled “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won a bunch, and that Amy Sherman-Palladino, who should’ve won a whole lot of Emmys during the “Gilmore Girls” era, got to give a victory speech.

— Henry Winkler seems like a hell of a nice guy. And I loved this photo of him and Richie Cunningham (I mean Ron Howard) backstage. Someone call Potsie and Ralph Mouth, please.

— The only bit from Che and Just that I really thought landed great was the “Reparation Emmys” gag, where Che gave out awards to talented black actors on shows from the past. Seeing Marla Gibbs and Kadeem Hardison get honored was hilarious and I was happy to see them get a few moments in the sun.

— Finally, the fashion was stellar. Regina King looked amazing, Thandie Newton, wow, and from the wife, Sterling K. Brown always looks fabulous.

 

**Finally today, saw this soccer goal over the weekend and it kind of blew my mind. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, an international superstar now playing for the L.A Galaxy in MLS, scored his 500th career goal in spectacular fashion. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a goal scored quite like it.

Amazing athletic play.

The strangest Jets season of my life: Do I root for them to win, or lose (they won again Sunday). Michael Che on fire on “SNL” season premiere. And “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is back, yay!

I have been a fan of the New York Jets since 1981, when I was 6 years old, and Richard Todd was the quarterback, Freeman McNeil was the running back, and they went all the way to the AFC Championship game before losing to Miami, 14-0, and A.J. Duhe intercepted Todd about 32 times that day. That was my first Jets heartbreak, and of course it was followed by 4,328 more.

I have watched Jets games in many states, physically (and I believe in 2-3 other countries), and in many states, emotionally (often sad, depressed, questioning my life choices as the third quarter bleeds down and the Jets are losing 31-6).

I didn’t think any new feelings or emotions watching the Jets could still be had, but here we are 36 years after my first becoming a fan, and something new and weird is happening.

I’m watching the 2017 Jets, and part of me wants them to lose. And another part of me yells at the part of me that wants them to lose and screams “Are you crazy?”

This hasn’t happened before. Oh, there have been games where, for the purposes of playoff matchups or something like that, I’ve been like “OK, fine, whatever, they lost, it’s better they’re now playing Team X instead of Y)

But not for an entire season. But here’s the deal: The Jets have done everything possible to be terrible this season. They’ve traded or cut just about all of their talented veteran players, in the hopes of being so bad, they’ll get a shot at a No. 1 pick and one of the many highly-rated college quarterbacks who are expected to be available in the next NFL Draft.

This is how you have to do it in the NFL, if you’re bad but not bad enough to get a top pick. You don’t “tank,” per se, but you strip your roster down and expect the worst.

Which is what is supposed to be happening to the Jets this year. Right now they are supposed to be 0-4, looking feeble on offense, defense and in coaching. And I mentally prepared myself for that before the season. Look, they haven’t had a franchise QB in forever, even if you count Chad Pennington and that was 15 years ago!

So I was totally prepared to suck it up, lose interest a little this year, and watch them go 2-14, or even better, 1-15.

And yet… they are tied in the standings today with the New England Patriots. How much money in Vegas you could’ve won if you’d taken that bet five weeks ago, I can only imagine.

But this ragtag bunch of nobodies, led by a 38-year-old quarterback who remembers renting VHS tapes as a kid, has won two straight games, including 23-20 over Jacksonville Sunday.

And as I’m watching this, I’m secretly happy my team is winning, because it doesn’t happen that often, but I’m also pissed because they’re blowing their chance to finally get what so many other franchise’s fans have gotten: A truly amazing QB. Who the hell wants to go 6-10 (which is where they’re headed this year) and get a left tackle or a defensive back? Let’s be horrendous, historically awful and get the next Peyton Manning or Drew Brees!

It’s a weird, weird feeling to kind of hope your team loses, because you know long-term, that would benefit them the most.

But hey, the Jets have 2 wins, and the Giants have zero. And that’s something to smile about if you’re me today.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:

— The Patriots defense is bad. Really, really bad. Maybe as bad as it’s been under Belichick. They’ve given up the second-most points in the whole league (128). Figures the year the Jets decide to try to lose, is the year New England finally falls back a little.

— The Rams are 3-1 and still aren’t any good. The Giants are 0-4 and I can’t believe they’re this bad. They play next week, so maybe I’ll be right about one of those things.

— Hey Chargers owner Dean Spanos, how’s that move to L.A. working out? Your team is 0-4 and can’t fill a 27,000 seat stadium.

**Next up, “Saturday Night Live” had its season premiere on Saturday night, and as expected, had a field day with the actions and Tweets of the 4-year-old currently occupying the Oval Office. The whole “Weekend Update” segment on Hurricane Maria was fantastic, but here’s just a small snippet of Michael Che, saying what so many of us are saying, but not on national television.

I know I’ve said this before, but can the man get any lower than calling the Puerto Rican people lazy and saying “they want everything to be done for them,” before claiming the Democrats instructed the San Juan mayor to be “nasty” to him and then continually bringing up the territory’s debt?

As Charlie Pierce aptly said on Twitter this weekend, “Don’t know what the metric is for measuring how much of a heartless, soulless hellbat a POTUS is, I’m pretty sure we broke the meter today.”

**Finally today, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is back! I’m super, super excited to see what the funniest show on TV has left after a six-year absence, though one should never doubt the insanity that lurks inside the mind of Larry David.

The season 9 premiere was Sunday night, and I haven’t watched it yet, but someone on the Internet gave me a good idea: They were telling someone about “Curb” and wondered if you had to show them one scene to sum up what it’s about, what would you show. They chose this clip, which is great, but I like this one: Larry and Cheryl, on a road trip to her sister’s husband’s baptism in the river.