After Jimmy Fallon’s historic first week run on The Tonight Show last week, NBC was ready to roll out all of the stops for their latest adventure in the late night stratosphere. Last night gave us the debut of Late Night with Seth Meyers, and it was a successful night for the SNL alum who had some pretty big shoes to fill.
I have always been a fan of Seth Meyers brand of comedy. He has that dry sense of humor that zings just right. He has always been fun to watch running Weekend Update on SNL and he has been one of the shows head writers for years. He’s got his comic chops down. But can he pull of a talk show, where he has to dictate control and the flow of interviews on a nightly basis? That is the big question. I thought he did a pretty decent job last night in his debut. Although Meyers is following in Jimmy Fallon’s footsteps from the Weekend Update to the Late Night stage, they are not the same type of hosts. Fallon started out as a bit player on SNL who was known for being the guy that laughed in the middle of sketches all of the time. Meyers has been one of the head writers on SNL for years whose tone was distinct, a little bit unusual, a little off the cuff, but intelligent. Meyers looked very relaxed as the show went on and didn’t deter too much from his newscaster-esque demeanor that he showed on SNL. His monologue will improve over time. He seemed kinda stiff as he was delivering jokes about the Olympics, and the Bachelor, and 7-11 chain stores. It will take him a little while to get into his groove with the monologue format. He hasn’t done that ever, so that alone is a whole new world for him to tackle. Fallon’s first couple monologues weren’t that good either. But Meyers is a very good writer, and good jokes will win over every time.
He was welcomed last night by SNL alum and close friend, Amy Poehler and Vice President, Joe Biden. Meyers and Poehler have known each other for years, so it must have been nice to have your first guest be a familiar and loving face. He and Poehler were shooting the breeze like old pals. It looked like they were on a coffee date. They didn’t talk about much, but Meyers is at his best when he is sitting behind the desk and Poehler’s appearance definitely calmed some first show nerves.
The Biden interview wasn’t as smooth as his first with Poehler but still Meyers held his own with the Vice President. Biden didn’t say anything too important either and Meyers didn’t press him on some key issues that are happening in Washington. The mood of the interview was light and celebratory. Check out Biden’s hair! Crisp! I can’t help but see Jason Sudekis when I look at Biden. Sudekis mocked him brilliantly on SNL over the years. Biden at one point made a joke that he was going to make a big announcement about something, “but tonight is your night” he said to Meyers, not revealing whether or not he is going to run for President in 2016. It will be interesting to see how Meyers handles a more unpredictable guest, like who he has on tonight, Mr. Kanye West. I will be setting my DVR for that.
Meyers kept some things consistent. The musical act will still occur on Late Night with Seth Meyers. A Great Big World stopped by to play their hit “Say Something.” And Fred Armisen, another one of Meyers homies on SNL, has taken over band leader duties for the 8G band, which was a curveball to me at first, but not everybody is lucky enough to get the Roots crew as your house band. Alot will be said about the difference between Meyers and Jimmy Fallon, the man who has moved out of the Late Night chair and up an hour to claim The Tonight Show hosting duties. Fallon made Late Night a must see place for next day water cooler chatter. Fallon was fresh with his musical skits and overall love for music. He rocked the laptop on his desk. He got his guests to be unpredictable. Don’t expect Meyers to go down that road. He can’t be Fallon. They are different guys with different styles. Expect Meyers to be a little more traditional. However, Late Night has always been a spot to be a little more unconventional and take more risks. Letterman did that. Conan O’Brien did that. And so did Jimmy Fallon. I think in time, Seth Meyers will find a way to make this place his own. He’s an incredibly smart guy who is witty and is not afraid to be rude, (a sign of a good comic) but is very easy to warm up to. I think Lorne Michaels knew what he was doing when he picked Meyers to take over the keys of Late Night. Meyers reminded me of an old school host last night. He may not be as social media savy as Fallon was, but if he can be loose, himself, and use his strong writing chops to his advantage, he could hold down that 12:35am seat for a long time.