'SNL' star Michael Che receives backlash for Caitlyn Jenner joke during 'Weekend Update'

Saturday Night Live's Michael Che is taking heat over a joke he made while anchoring "Weekend Update," during the most recent episode of the sketch series, that some critics are calling "transphobic."

The remark in question came as Che was poking fun at Kanye West, and the recent release of West's new album, Jesus Is King, before comparing West to Caitlyn Jenner.

"I mean, he used to be one of the coolest black dudes on earth now he’s showing up to events in sweatpants and orthopedic sneakers, listening to Kenny G and trying to get black people to like Trump," Che said, "How long before this guy changes his name to Cathy."

To emphasis his satirical point that West appears to be turning into an old white woman, he showed a side-by-side of West and a stock photo of an older white lady.

"Now, you might think that I’m crazy, but about five years ago, there was a fella named Bruce Jenner, and he moved to Calabasas…" Che said, as he trailed off to the sound of uncomfortable laughter from the audience.

The use of Jenner's former name, and referring to Jenner as a "fella" -- notably, while speaking about the celebrity before her transition, which is commonly referred to as "deadnaming" -- stirred up backlash from numerous viewers who felt the comments were insulting, marginalizing and transphobic.

"Caitlyn Jenner was deadnamed and misgendered as a punchline. There wasn’t even a joke," one Twitter user wrote. "The punchline was just dead naming her and then the bit ended. It was super uncomfortable for the audience."

"@nbcsnl Michael Che, I’m disappointed in your comparison of Kanye West, a cis man, to Caitlyn Jenner, a trans woman. Your comparison implies that trans women are just men who change their names. You also misgendered and deadnamed her," another user wrote. "Both of these things are extremely harmful, widespread practices that contribute to the oppression of trans women, and the trans community at large. I want you to apologize for this behavior. You are better than this."

ET has reached out to NBC and Che's rep for comment regarding the joke.

SNL airs live coast-to-coast Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Caitlyn Jenner attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Caitlyn Jenner attends Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Caitlyn Jenner attends AOL MAKERS Conference at Terranea Resort on February 2, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Caitlyn Jenner attends the AOL MAKERS Conference at Terranea Resort on February 1, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 14: Tv personality Candis Cayne (L) and executive producer/tv personality Caitlyn Jenner speak onstage during the 'I Am Cait' panel discussion at the NBCUniversal portion of the 2016 Winter TCA Tour at Langham Hotel on January 14, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04: (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Caitlyn Jenner attends the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Caitlyn Jenner poses for a photo at the backstage inspiration wall at the 2015 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Glamour)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Caitlyn Jenner attends Logo TV's 'Beautiful As I Want To Be' web series launch party at The Standard Hotel on October 27, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Caitlyn Jenner attends the 8th Annual Safety Harbor Kids Polo Classic Fundraiser at Will Rogers State Historic Park on September 12, 2015 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Caitlyn Jenner attends The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Caitlyn Jenner is seen on June 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by NCP/Star Max/GC Images)
THE VIEW - Caitlyn Jenner guest co-hosts and Mischa Barton is the guest today, Friday, July 14, 2017 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) CAITLYN JENNER
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 14: Caitlyn Jenner at The View on July 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images)
THE VIEW - Caitlyn Jenner guest co-hosts today, Thursday, July 13, 2017 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) CAITLYN JENNER, SARA HAINES
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 18: Caitlyn Jenner displays her Austin-Healey Sprite and wins an award for 'most fashionable' car at The Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance on June 18, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Caitlyn Jenner is seen on June 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 18: Caitlyn Jenner displays her Austin-Healey Sprite and wins an award for 'most fashionable' car at The Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance on June 18, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 12: Caitlyn Jenner arrives at the British LGBT Awards on May 12, 2017 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Jules Annan / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Jules Annan / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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