Until the start of 2014, Seth Meyers’ claim to fame was 10 minutes of face-time as a “Weekend Update” anchor on Saturday Night Live, where he was an Emmy-winning head writer for nine seasons. But over the past year, he’s taken over NBC’s Late Night talk show spot for Jimmy Fallon (who graduated to The Tonight Show) and hosted the 66th Emmy Awards. And on Jan. 31, Meyers, who is a big sports fan, will host NBC’s fourth annual NFL Honors show, which recognizes the top players of 2014 on the night before the Super Bowl.
But you can see Meyers in the flesh, in all his snarky glory, Friday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach, where he’ll revisit his first love, stand-up comedy.
Meyers will do what he does in his opening monologues for his talk show — discuss current events, make fun of weird news stories (an unsettling number of which happen in Florida), and absolutely skewer deserving politicians, celebrities and other ridiculous people — only for much longer than five minutes.
Meyers talked to the Miami Herald about the show, his relationship with fellow “Weekend Update” alum Fallon, whether he misses SNL, and why, even as a New Englander, he won’t be rooting for the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
How different is doing stand-up from your talk show?
It’s really different, which is one of the reasons I still try to do it despite the fact that I have a talk show. Getting out to do a full hour in front of a small audience, without having to worry about things like commercial breaks or talking to celebrities, is really fun for me. I think doing stand-up is the most free place you’re going to be as far as expression goes. There’s not a lot getting in the way of you being able to say exactly what you want to say.
Do you know what you might talk about during your show?
I’m always kind of drawn to talking about what’s going on in the world, current events, things like that. But also my personal life: The biggest different since the last time I was down there is getting married. And like many comedians before me, it turns out that when you get married, it’s a wealth of material.
How are you enjoying your talk show?
I love it — it’s been a lot of fun so far. I didn’t realize exactly how much I enjoy talking to people — that part of it’s really fun. And the fact that you get to do one every night is such a luxury — at SNL you spend the whole week and you only get to do the one performance. And no matter how tired you’re feeling on any given day, when you walk out in front of that audience, you can feed off their energy.
Was it terrifying at first?
Yeah! It was! Especially just that moment, hearing your name and walking out. In the beginning, I feel like I was trying to just sort of technically deliver the comedy we’d written, and you realize with shows like these, they are kind of by definition a little sloppier. And part of the fun is just realizing that not everything needs to be perfect, as long as you’re having a good time. You know, the audience is watching at 12:30 at night — that’s not when you sort of tune in to watch technical perfection.
Your show follows fellow “Weekend Update” alum Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. You guys are taking over the world, huh?
[Laughs] Well, I think he’s taking over the world, and I’m just, like, gripping as hard as I can to his coattails. You know, I think this is the best time in the history of the show for someone to do Late Night, with Jimmy’s Tonight Show — what they’re doing is incredible, and we’re just happy to be part of it.
Are you guys good friends?
We certainly have known each other for a really long time, and the funny thing about how our shows work is, even though our shows are taped only a couple floors away from each other, we barely intersect. It’s more likely that I’ll see Jimmy in L.A. at an awards show than I will in the building. But that’s just sort of a side effect of our schedules. It’s always great to see him — obviously, we’ve had so many shared experiences over the years, and he’s been really supportive. And before this started, he was a really helpful ear to have.
Do you miss SNL at all?
You know, it’s very nice that I miss it less than when this all started. I now appreciate how much we can do with our show, and we have a great writing staff here. One of the hardest parts about leaving SNL was just how much time I spent with that writing staff — that was a real day-in, day-out operation. But now we have that here.
I really enjoy watching it, though. It’s nice after a break to go back as just a viewer of SNL, and I think they’re doing great work. And every now and then, I am like that guy who graduated a couple years ago who still goes and hangs out in the parking lot smoking cigarettes. I sort of wander into the writers’ room, and they’re very nice — they treat me like a kind old man who sort of wandered away from his retirement home. And they say nice things to me, and then they very quietly push me back to where I live now [laughs].
You’re hosting the NFL Honors show on Jan. 31 and you hosted the Emmys in August, and you hosted the ESPYs twice. What’s with all the hosting?
[Laughs] Well, in the beginning, I think the hosting was a really smart thing to do because I think it was probably what most opened people’s eyes to the possibility that I could do a job like I’m doing now. As for why I keep doing it — man, I have no idea! [Laughs]
Let’s talk about football — you’re a big sports fan, and you’re a New Englander, but you love the Pittsburgh Steelers instead of the Patriots. But will you be rooting for the Pats now that the Steelers are out?
I can’t tell. I have to say that mostly I root against teams that can mess with the Steelers’ legacy, so it’s very hard right now. I don’t like when teams win back-to-back Super Bowls, because that’s something the Steelers did — so that has me not rooting for Seattle. And the Patriots have never given us a boring Super Bowl. So I don’t know — I’ve got a lot of friends who I love dearly that like the Patriots, but at the same time, I really hate the Patriots. So it’s a weird time for me.
I should say that when I say I hate the Patriots, I don’t hate the actual players or people involved in the Patriots. I just physically get sick when they win.