It doesn’t matter that “Saturday Night Live” cast members and “Weekend Update” anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost have been named to host the 2018 Emmy Awards on Sept. 17.
No one’s going to watch them.
NBC is clearly trying to capitalize on the renewed popularity of “SNL” in the Trump era by naming young co-hosts who will punctuate the bestowing of trophies with political jokes. And it might be amusing — for the first half-hour of the ceremony, which usually lasts three hours total.
Like the Oscars and the Golden Globes and other ceremonies of yore, the Emmys is an antiques roadshow — a throwback to an era when people had nothing better to do than to sit for an entire evening and watch some actor win a prize and act surprised.
The public’s increasing indifference to such showboating is made evident by the steep decline in ratings for such events. Numbers for the Grammys dropped 24 percent this year; also distressing, the Oscars lost 20 percent as the extravaganza produced one predictable winner after another. Last year’s Emmy awards drew a dismal 11.4 million viewers, compared to 11.3 in 2016.
By contrast, last week’s episode of “Roseanne” drew 13.2 million viewers. The glamour-free ABC sitcom, which co-stars an ugly old couch, knows something about how to attract an audience.
While we’re on the subject of comedy, it’s fair to ask if Jost and Che have the chops to make their “Weekend Update” rapport go the distance. Their “SNL” skit is a mainstay of the show, but their predecessors in those anchor seats — Tina Fey, Chevy Chase and Seth Meyers, among many others — have been more memorable. Perhaps Jost’s stature as movie star Scarlett Johansson’s boyfriend elevates him to snaring this kind of high-profile gig.
This year’s Emmy Awards executive producer Lorne Michaels’ other proteges, Jimmy Fallon and Meyers, have hosted the show in the past. Michaels will reportedly get other members of the “SNL” cast to pop in during the broadcast to make this less-than-dynamic duo not seem stranded up there with all those boring categories.
Like “SNL” itself, you can always catch up with the worthy bits a day later on YouTube.
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