In hindsight, Seth Meyers was the perfect choice to take over Late Night from Jimmy Fallon when Fallon landed The Tonight Show. Not only was Meyers funny and affable, but his work on SNL was basically a training ground for what would be asked of him on Late Night. He was promoted to Head Writer on SNL after a few years during which time he shepherded talents like the Lonely Island guys and absolutely killed it on the Weekend Update desk, first with Amy Poehler and then solo, playing perfectly off “guests” like Drunk Uncle and, of course, Bill Hader’s Stefon.
But few could have predicted just how great Late Night with Seth Meyers would become. The show arrived just as the entire late night TV landscape was shifting, and the departures of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show and David Letterman from The Late Show on CBS would leave a void that Meyers and his Late Night team happily filled. With segments like “A Closer Look,” Meyers and his Late Night staff leaned into covering politics with a mix of comedy and well-researched insight, and the show has become appointment viewing during the Trump presidency.
That evolution didn’t necessarily come as part of a grand plan, as Meyers admitted while appearing on our remote interview series Collider Connected. During the wide-ranging interview, I spoke to Meyers about first landing the Late Night gig and how the show evolved—and continues to evolve, as Meyers also detailed the process by which he’s been filming the show from home during the pandemic. We also discussed Meyers’ penchant for highlighting his writers on Late Night, specifically with regards to the incomparable Amber Ruffin. And we talked about how Meyers recently handed the opening of his show over to Ruffin every night for a week, as she soberly detailed a different heartbreaking experience she’s had with the police on each installment.
The conversation also covered Meyers’ time on SNL and how he felt about slipping into the role of Head Writer—and what Hader was like after each one of those uproarious Stefon bits. I also had to ask Meyers about the upcoming season of the delightful IFC series Documentary Now, and if we can expect a Tiger King episode in Season 4.
As a huge fan of Meyers and his team’s work on Late Night, it was a blast to dig into what it takes to make what I feel is the best late night show on TV right now. It’s high time this show and these writers were recognized by the Primetime Emmys with a win. Get on it, awards people!
Check out the full conversation above and a rundown of what we talked about below, and for more of our Collider Connected interviews click here.
- Talks about the wasp infestation in the attic in which he record Late Night
- What was his first year at SNL like? Talks about the day he found out he got hired and making friends in a competitive environment
- The iconic “Old Prospector” sketch with Will Ferrell
- Stepping into the role of Head Writer on SNL and how he felt like he finally found a role where he could add value to the show
- Working on Hot Rod and MacGruber
- Being surprised at being tapped to host Late Night
- Did he always want Late Night to be such a political show? Talks about the TV landscape when he took over the show
- Making the writers a big part of the show
- Handing the opening of Late Night over to Amber Ruffin for an entire week to relay her experiences with the police
- What was Bill Hader like after each Stefon appearance?
- What will Late Night look like after Trump?
- How they’re making the show during the pandemic
- Adjusting to telling jokes without an audience and seeing feedback on Twitter
- Why was Ethan Hawke hiding in his attic closet?
- Documentary Now! Season 4 update. Will they tackle Tiger King?
- The Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock and whether Ruffin and Jenny Hagel will continue working for Late Night