You are here: Home>Collections

Seth Meyers hits Chicago and Just For Laughs festival


June 16, 2011|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

Yes, Seth Meyers and "SNL" character Stefon (Bill Hader) are supposed to be on their summer vacation together, but Meyers still has time for Chicago.

"You know, I'm thinking by June 18 we might need a couple of days apart," Meyers joked when we talked on the phone a few weeks ago.

In the season finale of "Saturday Night Live," Meyers signed off "Weekend Update," grabbed his backpack and told Stefon, the "Update" city correspondent who has a knack for presenting the creepiest tourist spots, "I think this is the start of a beautiful nightmare."

Meyers isn't feeling that way about his old Chicago haunts. The Northwestern and Improv Olympic alum is back in town this week, performing a sold-out show at the Vic Theatre Saturday as part of the TBS Just For Laughs comedy festival.

We chatted about hanging out in Chicago, his skewering of Donald Trump at the White House correspondents dinner, and his "'Update' heart." Amy Poehler.

Find the Just For Laughs 2011 schedule at Metromix.

Where will you and Stefon go?
I feel like I would go a lot of places you and I have never heard of. [Laughs.]

Tell me about your live show.
I have stand-act I’ve been doing at colleges for awhile. I talk a lot about politics. But I think the biggest difference between the “SNL” me and the stand-up me is just getting to talk about myself more. That would be indulgence on the show, but less so as a stand-up act.

Right. Are you hoping that Donald Trump is in the audience?
I don’t know if I need him to be in the audience now because I think people can picture his face if I were to tell a joke about him.

Do you have any of that worked into your act?
I haven’t decided. I haven’t sort of done, because after the correspondents dinner we had three straight shows, so I’m not sure yet if I’m ready to talk about Donald Trump and how he treated me.

[Laughs.] How he treated you. Right.
Exactly. You’re allowed to treat people a certain way if they say they’re going to run for president.

But he didn’t seem too amused by it.
He seemed the opposite of amused. I didn’t know—I couldn’t see him in the audience. I had no sense of the reaction until afterward. It was a really unfortunate angle, too, that dead profile. [Laughs.]

Were you nervous about working that room?
The only thing I was nervous about, which was enough to make me more nervous than I’d ever been, was the idea of following the President because he was great. I knew he’d be great, so that was the terrifying part.

When you’re mocking them on “Update” those folks aren’t in the audience, so...
Oh no, I’m well aware of that! [Laughs.] I’m well aware.

Obviously though, it didn’t stop you from throwing some sharp barbs.
I think there’s a line of how sharp the barb can be. I watched a lot of old correspondents dinners before I did it and I had to leave some sense of where the line was. With that said, I probably pulled 10 jokes on the fly while I was doing it.

You’re a smart guy like that, huh?
Yeah. I feel like every joke I told I learned a couple of things about the audience and it was like OK, you guys aren’t going for this. [Laughs.]

You used to live in Chicago and worked here. What are you planning to do while you’re here and you’re not on stage?
The nice thing about the festival is I feel like so many of my comedy friends are going to be there. Like Mike O’Brien, who writes for us, is a Chicago guy, a Second City guy, he’s going to be out there doing a show which I might do a guest spot on. But I’m actually [excited] just to be in Chicago more than anything else, especially Chicago in June. I’ve come out a couple of times. I’ve done a couple of shows at Northwestern, a couple of shows at Loyola, but it’s been a while since I’ve been out in this nice time of year.

Do you have any old stomping grounds you’ll visit?
Well, I was a waiter for years at the Twisted Lizard on Armitage and Sheffield, and I might have to stop in and give an inspirational speech to the staff.

An inspirational speech?

What would that consist of?
Just, you know, don’t let these tables get you down. [Laughs.] At the end of the day the only people you have to be able to look in the eye is the rest of the staff.

Or these a-holes coming in?
Yeah. There were a lot of a-holes back then. Or I could just shift and be one of the a-holes that goes in there. I haven’t decided yet.

Right. But if you did that then it would make news and that probably wouldn’t be good.
Yeah, not the right kind of news. I agree.

RedEye Chicago Articles