The funnyman was discussing Kanye West's recent "Jesus Is King" album release when he made the quip, comparing the rapper to his mother-in-law Caitlyn - who was formerly [=cBruce Jenner] before undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2017.
"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 joked. "How long before this guy changes his name to Cathy?"
To further emphasise his point, Che flashed up a comparison picture of Kanye next to an old white woman, adding: "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…"
Following the airing of the episode, many viewers took to social media to slam Che for "deadnaming" - where someone uses a person's former name after they've had a sex change - and insulting the reality star, who turned 70 on Monday, October 28.
"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."
Another added: "@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. 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 apologise for this behaviour. You are better than this."
Che has yet to respond to the backlash.
Meanwhile, Caitlyn marked her 70th birthday on Monday with a sweet message from her stepdaughter Kim Kardashian, and flowers and gifts from Khloe Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian, as well as daughters Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner, according to her Instagram Stories.