By Devon Shuman, Senior Staff Writer
Seth Meyers doesn’t do a lot of stand-up comedy. The former SNL Weekend Update star is usually too busy with his new gig — hosting NBC’s “Late Night.”
He rarely takes his one-man show on the road, but Meyers has plenty of experience as a solo comedian.
Although he co-anchored Weekend Update with Amy Poehler for two seasons and Cecily Strong for one, for the majority of his time on the show, Meyers ran the segment by himself.
The basic structure of Weekend Update was simple.
Meyers would briefly report a true news story from the previous week and follow it up with a witty comment. Although the jokes followed such a constant and rudimentary formula, Meyers was able to add variety to his humor.
His jokes were often witty and clever and aimed at satirizing modern culture. For instance, in one segment he reported that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had named their daughter Blue Ivy Carter, to which he noted, “But, admit it, you would have been disappointed if they had just named her Lisa.
Some of his jokes, however, threw the traditional structure out the door, ignoring current events and finding humor in random places. In one particularly dark segment, his line, “In other news, Eeyore finally did it,” was accompanied by a picture of a donkey hanging from the ceiling above a knocked over stool.
However, while Meyers was best known for his work on the Weekend Update, he was also SNL’s head writer for nine seasons and was the creative genius behind many of the show’s more popular sketches.
Meyers penned, among others, the Louie/Lincoln mash up skit, the Peyton Manning PSA and even the legendary Hillary Clinton/Sarah Palin address. If you’ve ever used the phrase, “I can see Russia from my house,” it’s because of Seth Meyers.
In Feb. 2014, Meyers’ career took a major turn when he left SNL to take over for Jimmy Fallon on “Late Night.”
Meyers’ comedic style translates well onto the late night stage, especially during the opening monologue, which closely follows the Weekend Update report-and-comment format. Meyers even made waves when he became one of the first late night comedians to abandon the traditional awkward standing monologue and instead address viewers right from his desk.
While his style works well during the monologue and his various skits, Meyers has often been criticized for his interviewing.
On the Weekend Update, not only were his interviews completely scripted, but they were also often with fictional characters acted by the other comedians, not with real celebrities. When he is interviewing actual people in real time, he seems much less comfortable and often comes across as a bit awkward.
Meyers’ stand-up is one of the lesser-known facets of his career. With his show taping five nights a week, he has little time to tour. However, there are several things that the audience at Millett Hall can expect.
For one, there will likely be a lot of references to current events. Through his work on Late Night and Weekend Update, we have seen that Meyers is at his best when he is commenting on what is going on in the world right now. He will most likely bring that style to his show Saturday night, possibly even weaving in Miami University-specific jokes.
Additionally, we know whatever subjects his jokes cover, his humor will be intelligent. Meyers is an alumnus of Northwestern, a school that has churned out such clever comedians as Stephen Colbert and Julia-Louis Dreyfus. Meyers’ comedy has always been marked by fantastic wit and that no doubt will be the case this weekend.
Finally, it would not be surprising to see him utilizing audience participation.
Meyers got his comedic start in the Chicago improv scene, working with groups such as ImprovOlympic and Boom Chicago. It was during this time that he first met Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Improv comics are known for being quick on their feet and using audience suggestions, so it’s possible that Meyers will use those skills in his stand up.
Meyers’ show begins at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday in Millet Hall.