Q&A: Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers dishes on 'Late Night' plans, 'SNL' memories and his upcoming TBS Just For Laughs show

  • Seth Meyers
Seth Meyers
June 10, 2013|By Julia Borcherts, For RedEye

The spotlight on Seth Meyers has been shining so bright these days that he probably feels like reaching for his sunglasses. This spring, he's been all over the news not only for landing the gig as Jimmy Fallon's 2014 replacement on NBC's "Late Night," but also for speculation as to who will replace him as "Saturday Night Live" head writer and "Weekend Update" anchor. And of course, for marrying "Weekend Update" correspondent character Stefon during the show's season finale. So what's next?

Friday, Meyers—a Northwestern graduate who was raised in New Hampshire but born in Evanston—returns to Chicago for a stand-up show as part of the TBS Just For Laughs comedy festival with opening acts Al Madrigal from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and former "SNL" and "30 Rock" writer (and native Chicagoan) Hannibal Buress. We asked RedEye readers what questions they'd like to ask Meyers and included our favorites here.

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Go: 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

Tickets: $39-$49; 800-745-3000; ticketmaster.com

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Jimmy Fallon has become known for his wacky games, from charades with Jane Lynch to Face-ket Ball with Bradley Cooper. How would you complete the following 'Late Night' analogy: Jimmy Fallon is to games as Seth Meyers is to _____?

[Laughs.] I'm going to say straight-manning.

Why's that?

The thing I've enjoyed so much about "Weekend Update"--and that we most want to figure out how to bring into the new show--is I love being straight man to people like Drunk Uncle or Stefon or anyone who comes on "Weekend Update." And that's why it's so important for me to find a way to bring that to the [late-night] show.

RedEye reader Caitlin O'Malley asks: You said earlier this month that Amy Poehler would be your dream first guest. Is she going to be a part of the show in any way?

Well, first of all, her financial demands for this first-guesting are going through the roof. So we're hoping we can carve out room in the budget. I hope that the show is always a place where current or past "SNL" cast members that I've worked with can stop by and do whatever they want. And Poehler, more than anyone, I would love to have come by any time she's free. There will always be room for Amy Poehler.

When Jimmy Fallon announced his move, there was a lot of talk about it being time for a woman or a minority to enter the late-night circle. What do you think it would take to make that happen?

I'm assuming at some point, it will just feel like the natural choice. By the way, there are plenty of great natural choices now who, for all I know, turned it down before they came to me. [Laughs.] But I will tell you, as someone who got the job offer, there are numerous people—both female and minority—that had they gotten this job, I would have completely understood that as a good choice.

But before you transition into that role, you'll be back in Chicago for the TBS Just For Laughs show. What's the difference between your stand-up persona and host persona?

Fortunately, they're fairly close. The nice thing about being on "Weekend Update" and having your own show is, you get to be yourself. And obviously, the same is true with stand-up. The biggest difference is, I would say, time spent with me. That'll change, obviously, when I have a late-night show but for now, people are used to seeing me for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and with stand-up, you get to be out there for an hour. And that time allows you to be a little bit more personal and tell stories about your life that would feel very self-indulgent if you did it from the "Weekend Update" desk.

What Chicago-centric things will make it into your JFL set?

Having spent so much time in Chicago, it's always fun to draw from both that past history and recent history in Chicago. It's a city that for a very long time was home to me, so, yeah, it's fun. The last time I was out there a few years ago, there was a lot going on in Chicago that was fun to talk about and I feel like the same is true now.

Where do you like to go out when you're back in Chicago?

When I used to live in Chicago, I lived in Lincoln Park but in recent years, when I go with "SNL" for scouting trips, we stay downtown, so I wouldn't say I'm an expert. I will say that every time I'm there with Lorne Michaels, he makes us go to Gibsons Steakhouse. Lorne talks about the pieces of cake there the way other people would talk about the Loch Ness Monster--like he can't believe it's real. Also, I always love to go back to Second City, go back to iO, try to see some performances.

Your mother was a French instructor and your father was in finance. How did they feel about your decision to go into comedy?

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