SNL's Michael Che Pays Rent for Everyone in Building his Grandmother Lived in Before She Died of the Coronavirus

Saturday Night Live star Michael Che said he will pay the rent of all residents in his grandmother's former building in New York, following her death of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Che announced on Instagram that he would be paying one month's rent for the 160 apartments in the New York City Housing Authority building.

"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," he wrote. "Obviously I can't offer much help by myself. But in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I'm paying one month's rent for all 160 apartments in the NYCHA building she lived in."

Che wrote: "I know that's just a drop in the bucket. So I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, at the very least."

Che then called upon New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Sean "Diddy" Combs, to "fix this," asking them to page him.

Michael Che
Michael Che arrives at the 70th Emmy Awards on September 17, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Che revealed earlier in April that his grandmother, Martha, had died from complications due to the novel coronavirus. In a now-deleted Instagram post, Che wrote: "I'm obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone. But I'm also happy that she's not in pain anymore. And I also feel guilty for feeling happy.

"Basically the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has losing someone very close and special. I'm not unique. But it's still scary."

Che honored his grandmother during last weekend's remote Saturday Night Live, when Che said to his co-host Colin Jost: "As you know, Colin, I lost my grandmother this week, but coming back to work has made me feel better, especially with you."

He then told Jost that his grandmother's favorite part of the show is Joke Swap and that he had emailed Jost a joke to read, and encouraged him by saying "she would really like this."

Jost then agreed to read the joke, in honor of Che's grandmother, before Che revealed that his grandmother had never watched the show and he "just wanted him to do that."

When signing off, instead of saying his name, Che said: "For Weekend Update, I'm Martha's grandbaby."

New York has been the state most badly affected by the coronavirus, with more than 214,000 of the U.S.'s 639,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Due to the state lockdown, many New Yorkers are out of work but are still expected to pay rent.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio said: "I urge the state to act and to allow renters to use their security deposits to pay rent. There is no reason at this point given how much dislocation has occurred that a security deposit sitting in a bank account... can help the renter, help the landlord have money to pay for their expenses."

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