Show Rundown: Wednesday February 19, 2014
Seth Myers Makes a Big Move
Seth Myers Makes a Big Move
He talked to Howard about being head writer of Saturday Night Live, hosting Weekend Update and getting ready for the freedom to experiment on Late Night.
Here are the highlights of Seth’s interview:
* Like most SNL cast members, Seth did improv in Chicago, but he didn’t perform at the SNL breeding ground Second City. He studied at Improv Olympic instead and headed to Amsterdam to perform in a ‘Second City-type’ company.
He wasn’t into weed or prostitutes, but still had a good time. A friend came out to visit him and asked if they should get a hooker. Seth said ‘No.’ His buddy said ‘No No or No … Convince Me?’
It was ‘No No’.
* Seth did finally get to audition for the big shot that every improve actor wants: Saturday Night Live. He went in with impressions of Hugh Grant (it was 2001), Russell Crowe, and David Arquette.
Howard asked if it’s true what many people say, that Lorne Michaels never laughs at the auditions. Seth said it isn’t true, but it’s good advice to pass onto comedians when the audition. SNL alum Rachael Dratch told him no one ever laughs and Seth went in there expecting silence. When people laughed, it felt like he was killing.
Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers at the Birthday Bash (with a celebrity photobomb!)
*Seth became the head writer of Saturday Night Live after Tina Fey left to create 30 Rock. He also started co-anchoring Weekend Update with Amy Poehler, then eventually he had to go it alone. ‘It’s so much more fun when there are two anchors.’
Seth and three other writers would write 400 jokes per week for weekend update, 100 a day. His schedule as head writer was so insane that he’d work all day and night on Tuesday, but Wednesday was the busiest day of the week. ‘For twelve and a half years, I slept at 30 Rock on Tuesday nights.’
His hard work paid off and he created some great sketches – the ‘Really?!’ segment, Louis CK as Lincoln, and the most historically significant, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.
* Seth also confirmed a story that Tina told on the Stern Show in 2006. Tina said Paris Hilton was the worst host she worked with (‘a piece of shit’ is how Tina described her). She and Seth bet on whether or not she’d ever ask any cast or crew member a personal question about themselves. Seth won when Paris asked Maya Rudolph if she was Italian. She is not and the story is 100% true.
* When Seth spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner, he managed to anger Donald Trump by ragging on his then-current quest for President Obama’s official birth certificate. Donald, who doesn’t let things go easily, blasted him as a third-rate comedian with marbles inhis mouth. Seth likened him to a 1950s bully who repeats the same line over and over again – as the Donald did to many different media outlets.
ONTO LATE NIGHT
When Jimmy Fallon was given the Tonight Show, Seth was tapped to fill Fallon’s position as host of ‘Late Night’. With that list of predecessors – Letterman, Conan, Fallon – it’s easy to see why he’d be nervous. He allowed that the pressure on him was not nearly the pressure Fallon faced with the Tonight Show, so he’s comforted by that. He likened it to being second in the Tour de France, behind the guy whos riding right into the wind.
He’s excited about the freedom to experiment that traditionally comes with the 12:30 AM slot, and it seems like he’s coming out of the gate with some good ideas – chiefly, his band leader, Fred Armisen. Not only is Fred musically talented, extraordinarily funny, and a huge Howard Stern fan (he’s got taste), but he’s a breath of fresh air. After Jimmy Fallon miraculously got the Roots as his house band, the bar had been set pretty high. Robin pointed out that he was a three-in-one deal: a musician, a comedian, and a friend.
Seth had to give credit to Lorne for suggested Fred. The comedy titan called Seth up one day and casually said ‘How about Fred?”
“In this really great Lorne was he just starts talking about it. It’s like follow-up to a conversation that never happened.”
Don’t miss Seth’s Late Night debut on Monday, February 24th.