Late Night with Seth Meyers
|Late Night with Seth Meyers|
|Also known as||Late Night (franchise brand)|
|Created by||David Letterman|
|Developed by||Seth Meyers|
|Directed by||Alex Vietmeier|
|Presented by||Seth Meyers|
|Starring||The 8G Band with Fred Armisen (house band)|
|Narrated by||Ron McClary|
|Opening theme||Late Night with Seth Meyers theme|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||455 (as of November 24, 2016) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Lorne Michaels|
|Running time||62 minutes (with commercials)|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||February 24, 2014 – present|
Late Night with Seth Meyers is an American late-night talk show hosted by Seth Meyers on NBC. The show premiered on February 24, 2014 and is produced by Broadway Video and Universal Television. It is the fourth incarnation of NBC's long-running Late Night franchise. The show also stars bandleader Fred Armisen and the 8-G Band, the show's house band. Late Night is produced by former Saturday Night Live producer Mike Shoemaker and executive-produced by Lorne Michaels. The show records from Studio 8G at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
The program airs Monday through Thursday nights at 12:37 a.m. ET/PT. The show opens with Meyers' topical monologue, which he delivers from his desk. The program also contains comedy bits, sketches, interviews with a myriad of guests, and occasionally a musical or comedy performance. The show attracts an average of 1.5 million viewers nightly.
The series is the fourth incarnation of the Late Night franchise, originated by David Letterman. Meyers was appointed host when Jimmy Fallon was announced to become the next host of The Tonight Show (currently The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), where he succeeded the previous host Jay Leno on February 17, 2014. Meyers' first guests were fellow SNL alum and Weekend Update co-anchor Amy Poehler, Vice President Joe Biden, and musical act A Great Big World. The show's house band, The 8G Band, features members of the indie bands Les Savy Fav and Girls Against Boys, and is typically led by SNL alum Fred Armisen. Every episode features a coffee mug on Meyers' desk from a different NBC affiliate.
Late Night with Seth Meyers originates from NBC Studio 8-G in the Comcast Building at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. The studio is housed directly above Studio 6B, the home of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; the combination created logistical challenges for executives, who were concerned about "sound bleed" (as the Comcast Building was built with steel girders, sound is too easily conducted floor to floor). As a result, The Tonight Show tapes at 5:00pm, and Late Night tapes later in the evening, at 6:30pm. The studio seats nearly 180 individuals, and is housed directly beside Studio 8H, longtime home of Saturday Night Live. Architectural Digest writes that the stage "strikes an Art Deco tone, with its illuminated proscenium arch reminiscent of the Chrysler Building’s iconic crown." Seth's Late Night has a house band, called The 8G Band, and led by Fred Armisen who also acts as the show's sidekick. He also performs as backing & co-lead vocals, rhythm guitars, bass and drums. The other personnel in the band are Seth Jabour on lead guitars and backing vocals, Marnie Stern on lead & rhythm guitars and backing vocals, Syd Butler on bass, and Eli Janney on keyboards, programmer and lead vocals. Just before Marnie Stern took over for Fred Armisen as guitarist on 2015, the role of drummer was held by Kimberly Thompson, who has performed trumpets, backing vocals and melodicas since the premiere of Late Night on February 24, 2014.
- 8:30am The staff work on the episode's first act, which usually focuses on politics or other current events. A first draft is written by one of the writers, such as Amber Ruffin, and Meyers goes over it to add to it or modify it.
- 11:00am The staff has a sketch meeting in which it plans non-political and longer lead-in segments, such as the popular recurring sketches "Extreme Dog Shaming" or "Special Thanks". The staff use this opportunity to make relevant notes on the sketches.
- 12:00pm Meyers and producer/writer Mike Shoemaker meet with the show's department heads for a production meeting in which graphics, costuming and pre-taping schedules for the episode's segments are discussed.
- 2:00pm - 4:00pm After Meyer reads an estimated 100 to 130 jokes with Shoemaker and a smaller group of writers, he retreats to his office to hone the opening monologue and research the night's guests.
- 4:00pm The staff goes to the Late Night studio for a test run with an audience of people that the production assistants round up outside 30 Rockefeller Center. This test run gives Meyers the opportunity to discern which jokes are working.
- 4:30pm Any changes made in the early meeting are tested with the audience respondents, with fine-tune transitions made on-set by the writers.
- 5:00pm After the rehearsal, Meyers prepares for the real taping, which includes changing into his familiar attire and going over the cue cards.
- 5:45pm In his dressing room, Meyers re-reads his guests' biographies in order to find topics of conversation that they have not been asked about repeatedly. He has said, "If you ask them a question where they see you've done your homework, then they open up more."
- 6:00pm Meyers discusses any last-minute additions with the writers based on the day's events. Typically at least three or four notable news events occur between the first round of jokes to the taping, according to Meyers.
- 6:15pm As the band warms up, Meyers greets the episode's guests in the dressing rooms, while avoiding any pre-taping conversation that would rob the on-set interview of energy.
- 6:25pm Before the taping begins, Meyers goes out to the audience to greet them, asking individual members about themselves and sharing knowledge of the history of Studio 8G.
- 6:30pm Taping begins.
Show structure and segments
The show opens with Ron McClary proclaiming "From 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, it's Late Night with Seth Meyers!" and announcing that night’s guests and The 8G Band with Fred Armisen, and/or guest musicians, including Jeremy Gara, Jon Theodore, Chad Smith, etc. McClary introduces Meyers with "Ladies and gentlemen, Seth Meyers." Previously, the introduction to Meyers was "And now here he is, Seth Meyers!". Meyers performs a monologue from his desk based around recent news, punctuating jokes with on-screen images and video. For the first year and a half of the program, Meyers performed a traditional stand-up monologue, before changing to a seated, Weekend Update-style opening monologue. This segment is normally followed by a long-form desk piece, or an interaction with bandleader Fred Armisen. The desk piece then leads to a commercial break. After the first commercial, one of various recurring segments appears, followed by the first of the episode's guests, which usually include celebrities and actors, literary figures, people in fashion, artists, athletes, and politicians. The first guest may return after the second commercial break, or be followed by the second guest. The third commercial break is normally followed by either a musical guest or a segment featuring that night's regular guests. Alternatively, a third guest may be featured.
On some occasions, Meyers does not follow this pattern at all; rather, he will perform a monologue followed by a long series of interviews without other segments. This first occurred following the series finale of Parks and Recreation, a long-running NBC sitcom starring Meyers' former co-anchor and close friend Amy Poehler. This occurred again with the cast of the then-upcoming film Sisters (which coincidentally also starred Poehler), although the episode featured a short desk segment between the monologue and interviews.
The show eventually increased its focus on politics. After Jon Stewart left The Daily Show in 2015, Meyers' program has gradually moved towards the "longer-form political comedy" style The Daily Show is known for. In an interview with journalist Chris Hayes, Meyers acknowledged this change, saying that the show was always intended to be politically minded, but when the show started, the creators opted to only gradually work the political material into the content to measure the amount of workload following the 24-hour news cycle would cause.
- A Closer Look: In a desk piece that normally follows the monologue, Meyers explains and satirizes a difficult or misunderstood political issue. Becoming the show's signature segment, it was one of Meyers' original visions for the show; however, when it premiered, the crew could not sustain the longform writing and intense research periods required to develop the segments. Eventually, new writers with more expertise in the area were brought on specifically to write them. The segment now appears on most of a week's shows, if not all. Each segment features a broad topic which Meyers explains and jokes about. The segment makes frequent use of news clippings and video from network news. Closely entwined with the monologue, they range in length from three minutes to almost twelve minutes.
- A Couple Things: Meyers gives a few quick comments in response to, and pointing out the inaccuracies of, a news story.
- Actathalon: One of the night's guests, normally an established or applauded actor, participates in a series of challenges based on stereotypical movie tropes. Challenges in the ten event series including "looking in the mirror and wondering who you've become", "quitting a job angrily", "hanging up the phone then swiping everything off a desk", and "doing an interview for a movie that you know is horrible".
- Day Drinking: Meyers takes the members of his family around New York City for drinks in the morning, seeing who has the best tolerance. In each segment, everyone in the family always agrees that Seth's mother is the best drinker among them.
- Deep Google: Meyers reads progressively deeper into the last pages of a Google search with "millions of results"
- Fake Or Florida: a game show parody where contestants have to guess whether or not a bizarre crime or incident set in Florida was real. Any contestant from Florida proper is blindfolded in order to level the playing field. Score is kept with manatee cutouts on dowels stuck into a holder.
- Fred Talks: Bandleader Fred Armisen improvises an answer to a question from Meyers. Meyers will normally claim that he heard Armisen was involved in a new project (opening a store, working with a charity, etc.) and ask if what he heard was true. Armisen always says that it is true, but then elaborately twists the story into being about a service that no one needs. When Armisen is absent due to his other projects, Meyers will instead mail him a FedEx package with a costume inside, from which Fred creates a character. In these cases, the segment is called FredEx. Additionally, whenever an SNL alumnus is on the show, they will pretend to not remember, or have had a negative relationship with, Fred.
- Fred Armisen's Extremely Accurate TV Recaps: Seth attempts to prove that Fred is lying when he claims to watch every single episode of every TV show by reading him the title of a TV show and asking him to explain what it's about. Fred then ad libs a lengthy and obviously incorrect description of the show. When he finishes, Seth explains what the show is actually about, upon which Fred will claim that his description was more accurate or that the description Seth was read was a minor detail of the show that Fred simply left out.
- Jokes Seth Can't Tell: Meyers comments that since the show's writing team is diverse while he is not (as a straight, white male), many jokes get cut simply because he could not deliver them without criticism. Two of the writers, Amber Ruffin (a black woman) and Jenny Hagel (a Puerto Rican lesbian woman), come out to tell the jokes because they are diverse. The segment ends with the two women insisting that Seth tell a joke, only to chastise him for it afterwards.
- Really?!: Amy Poehler returns to reprise her role alongside Meyers in their Weekend Update segment. The two lambast a current topic by angrily and varyingly exclaiming "really".
- Second Chance Theatre: Meyers gives a fellow former Saturday Night Live cast member a chance to stage a sketch they wrote that never made it on the show. Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg have participated so far.
- Seth Explains Teen Slang: Meyers takes current pop culture topics and changes them into words that he claims teenagers are using to describe things, followed by an example sentence.
- At This Point In The Broadcast: Meyers shares an unpopular opinion while a "network apology" scrolls on the screen (which the announcer reads, claiming that the segment of the show could not be removed for technical reasons). Meyers mimes a rant (no audio is heard from Meyers, outside of audience reaction) against mundane topics such as trees or Netflix. This sketch is a parody of a message aired during reruns of a 1994 Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Martin Lawrence. Lawrence's monologue, which included a rant about female hygiene, got him banned from the show.
- This Week in Numbers: Meyers uses data, both real and fictional, to set up jokes on pop culture and the news.
- Venn Diagrams: Meyers looks at two different categories, using the spot where they overlap to tell a joke about pop culture and the news.
- Ya Burnt: Smoke in the studio means it's time for a roast. Meyers tells jokes about six to ten topics, ending each joke with the signature line "ya burnt". Since the second installment, most weeks also feature an "unburnable" topic, which Meyers praises rather than roasts.
In July 2016, it was announced that the show would produce two live episodes following the final nights of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The show is normally recorded live on tape (primarily), but too early in the day to feature content from each night's convention. As a result, Meyers opted to host the show live to have the first opportunity for a fresh take on how each convention ended.
The first live episode featured guest Leslie Jones, as well as a live Ya Burnt. One of the roasting topics for the segment was "live television", in which Meyers stated that he was going to test the Standards & Practices division at NBC to see how well they could censor him live if he used swear words. Ultimately, a few swears were aired in the live version. Meyers also joked with Jones in her interview that she cannot swear like she normally does, because the show would be live. Despite this, Jones ultimately did swear in her interview, though the network censor caught it.
The second live episode featured guests Colin Jost, Michael Che, and Jessi Klein. The episode also featured a live "Jokes Seth Can't Tell Segment", in which writer Amber Ruffin used the phrase "bigger dicks though" as the punchline of a joke. Meyers appeared caught off-guard and chastised her for the use of the word, to which she responded by reminding him that the show is live so the network cannot stop them from saying it. Meyers repeated the line offhand later in the segment.
The third live episode followed the first presidential debate of the 2016 general election. Will Forte and Mandy Moore were the guests, with a special appearance by Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost. The show opened with a brief monologue, followed by an extended Closer Look segment about the night's debate. It was the first live episode to go as planned, with no impromptu mishaps or swears.
Late Night with Seth Meyers premiered to high ratings. It debuted to 3.4 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among the key demographic of adults aged 18–49—the best ratings for the Late Night franchise since January 2005. Several months into its run, the show averaged 1.5 million viewers nightly, which was slightly down from Fallon's final average as host. It remained at the same average one year later, in July 2015.
The show initially received mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman referred to Meyers' monologue as "staccato and hit and miss—sounding more like his 'Weekend Update' bits rather than a real monologue." On the other hand, USA Today's Robert Bianco felt Meyers was "shifting the show to suit his talents," making the show stronger and more traditional than Fallon's. Reviewing the debut week, The A.V. Club gave a B grade: The show begins with, "essentially, a carbon copy of Meyers' Weekend Update / 'what's in the news' jokes [...] Meyers will settle in to the formulaic parts of this job quickly enough—he's a pro, and it shows... " A month later, Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the program a B+ and wrote, "In his first week, the very smart, very smiley former Saturday Night Live head writer gave stiff monologue, which was basically his Weekend Update newsreader shtick, delivered in his shouty, wiseassy, talk-to-the-camera manner, but standing up; he improved the more he connected with the studio audience. He rolls when sitting down. Meyers seems capable of creating chemistry and having quality chats with anyone, from riding the wild waves of Kanye West to spinning a funny anecdote with pal Brad Paisley about accidentally stealing a Porsche."
Reviews have grown more positive as the show has evolved. In 2015, David Sims of The Atlantic wrote that the program "quietly [became] a heavy hitter, mixing a solid monologue with great scripted and semi-improvised bits from its writers." The Wall Street Journal's Sophia Hollander, with regard to the show's emphasis on authors, considered it "something of an intellectual salon, with authors and biting political commentary as well as celebrities." Bruce Fretts of New York felt the show distinguished itself from its contemporaries with a heavier focus on politics.
The 2016 election cycle allowed the show to further increase its focus on politics, satirizing the daily news both in the monologue and longform "A Closer Look" segments. At the behest of NBC executives, Late Night does not attempt to "equally cover" the news. Rather, jokes and segments are written openly from Meyers' more liberal viewpoint. This is also, in part, to help distinguish the show from its lead-in, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which attempts to skewer from an unbiased perspective. Meyers' transition from broad appeal comedy to his personal views has been critically praised, saying that the show has been able to find its own footing more in these political pieces.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (January 13, 2016). "Seth Meyers' Late-Night NBC Deal Renewed until 2021". Variety. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Carter, Bill (2013-05-12). "Seth Meyers to Succeed Fallon on NBC's Late Night". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Evans, Bradford. "Here's Your 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' Writing Staff". splitsider. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Adalian, Josef. "Seth Meyers Gave Reporters a Late Night Update". Vulture. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Monez, Mindy. "Fred Armisen Is the "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Band Leader! - Blog - Late Night with Seth Meyers - NBC". NBC. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Sims, David (August 13, 2015). "What Seth Meyers Is Doing Differently". Atlantic Monthly.
- Meyers, Seth (September 2, 2014). "We're back tonight with an all new show and a brand new set!". Twitter. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Tickets and NBC Studio Tour". NBC.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- Carter, Bill (February 16, 2014). "Tonight Show Returns to New York After Nearly 42 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Jason Gay (February 24, 2014). "Seth Meyers: From Saturday Night Live to Late Night". Vogue. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- Samuel Cochran (2014). "TOUR SETH MEYERS'S HANDSOME LATE NIGHT BACKSTAGE SPACES".
- Holbrook, Damian (June 20, 2016). "A Had Day's Night" TV Guide. pp 28-29.
- David Sims (August 13, 2015). "What Seth Meyers Is Doing Differently". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Dave Itzkoff (August 11, 2015). "Seth Meyers Decides to Take a Seat to Deliver His 'Late Night' Monologue". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Sophia Hollander (July 16, 2015). "Seth Meyers's 'Late Night' Literary Salon". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- The Parks and Recreation Cast Sings “Bye, Bye Li’l Sebastian” - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 25 February 2015 – via YouTube.
- ""Late Night with Seth Meyers" The Cast of Sisters/Ilan Rubin (TV Episode 2015)". IMDb. 17 December 2015.
- Bruce Fretts (June 11, 2015). "How Seth Meyers Is Positioning Himself As Late Night's Political Kingmaker". New York. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- David Sims. "Seth Meyers Joins the Late-Night Evisceration Fray". The Atlantic.
- Joanna Robinson. "Why Seth Meyers Might Be the Real Heir to Jon Stewart". Vanity Fair.
- Hayes, Chris (October 9, 2015). "Extended interview with Seth Meyers". MSNBC.
- A Closer Look: Oregon Shooting and Gun Violence - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 6 October 2015 – via YouTube.
- Seth and His Mom Go Day Drinking - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 9 September 2015 – via YouTube.
- "Watch Late Night: Seth Meyers "Deep Google: Father's Day Edition, Part 1" Highlight - NBC.com". NBC.
- Drusilla Moorhouse. "Seth Meyers wins with Fake or Florida game show on 'Late Night'". TODAY.com.
- Fred Talks: Freddie Krueger Gloves for Kids - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 11 August 2015 – via YouTube.
- Amy Poehler and Seth Reunite for a New Really!?! - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 24 June 2015 – via YouTube.
- Teen Slang: Sethster, Depp Perception - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 16 September 2015 – via YouTube.
- Seth's Netflix Rant - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 20 May 2015 – via YouTube.
- Ya Burnt: Halloween Stores, NYC, Pope Francis - Late Night with Seth Meyers. 16 October 2014 – via YouTube.
- Michael O'Connell (February 25, 2014). "TV Ratings: Seth Meyers' 'Late Night' Debut Tops Fallon's, 'Tonight' Opens Week 2 Strong". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Rick Kissell (September 24, 2014). "Latenight Ratings: NBC's Fallon, Meyers Easy Winners for Q3; ABC's Kimmel, 'Nightline' Up". Variety. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Brzeski, Patrick (February 25, 2014). "Seth Meyers on 'Late Night': What the Critics Are Saying". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Sims, David (February 28, 2014). "Seth Meyers has the chops, but is that enough to get audiences to care?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- Jensen, Jeff (March 20, 2014). "Late Night (2014)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "TV Schedule - OSN.com". Retrieved February 16, 2016.