Who is Seth Meyers? Is he an actor? Is he a best-selling writer? Is he a fantastic comedian? Is he a talk-show host? If you were to ask him, his answer would likely be someone who has been very fortunate throughout his career. A native of Bedford, New Hampshire he grew up with two parents who were great role models. Meyers’s mother was a French teacher and his father worked in finance. He graduated from Manchester High School West and went on to Northwestern where he studied film and television production.
His comedic roots can likely be traced to his early work in Northwestern’s improv troupe, Mee-ow Show. His comedic path continued through ImprovOlympic (now known as iO) in the group Preponderate and as an overseas cast member of the improv troupe, Boom Chicago. His talent became quite obvious and his troupe allowed Meyers to develop a show in Chicago. This is what ultimately led to him being discovered by SNL. Seth would likely deflect any credit he received about the show and say he was lucky to have a talented ensemble in the show.
His time at Saturday Night Live is likely associated with his time at the Weekend Update desk but it’s his work as the head writer which turned heads. His contributions to the “Get in the Cage” segment on update with Nicholas Cage, the role he played in any of the Stefan segments on Update, and the ‘Girls’ sketch he wrote for Tina Fey are some of the more memorable SNL moments. Meyers’s “Really?!” segment with Weekend Update co-anchor Amy Poehler is widely considered one of the more iconic SNL catchphrases.
In May of 2013, it was announced that he would succeed Jimmy Fallon as the host of Late Night with Micheal Shoemaker coming on as executive producer. During early versions of his show in early 2014, it appeared something was a bit off. Seth tried to conform his brand of humor to the traditional talk show format. The show felt off, it wasn’t him. It was only when he started making the show his own that the show took off. What began as telling one-liners from the center of stage morphed into Forced Friendship segments and covering current events from behind a desk. The show began to feel like Seth’s. While most would direct the praise to Meyers, he’d be quick to say it’s his team that helped him along the way.
Now with segments like “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” “Corrections,” and “Day Drinking,” Late Night with Seth Meyers is reaching new heights. In our discussion, Seth talked about how freeing it is to have a team that is all on the same page and handles all the small details. It allows him to focus on writing, which is his first love, whether it’s jokes or preparing questions for any of the show’s upcoming guests. Meyers’s interviews in the past year have seemed more elevated, well crafted, and willing to discuss difficult topics. A perfect example of this would be his recent interview with actor Elliot Page. Meyers opens up about how he approaches interviews in our discussion.
With the growing popularity of the show, Seth and his team have faced some unexpected issues. After seeing Rihanna on “Day Drinking,” a large number of celebrities have requested doing that segment with Meyers to the point where they have rejected some of these overtures. When asked if there was a celebrity who would surprise me that wanted to do that segment, all he would tell me was yes. Hey, can’t blame me for trying.
Seth Meyers is Emmy eligible for Outstanding Variety Series – Talk and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series – Talk for Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC