TV Review: ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’

Late Night with Seth Meyers

Other than cementing the Lorne Michaels/”Saturday Night Live” takeover of latenight at NBC, Seth Meyers has essentially been an afterthought in the whole equation, as the network has gone about the task of trying to give Jimmy Fallon the splashiest possible launch. Meyers’ show also comes across as something of an afterthought, offering the former “Weekend Update” host in an expanded but highly familiar package. “I’m gonna shake stuff up and open this thing with a monologue,” Meyers quipped at the outset, and the line was telling,since virtually nothing about this latest “Late Night” exhibited a whiff of freshness or originality.

If that criticism seems at all unfair, it’s worth noting that the two previous latenight hosts — David Letterman and Conan O’Brien — both experimented and took considerable chances, emboldened by the lower stakes and less demanding strictures of hosting a show at an hour where drifting off to sleep (and perhaps stumbling to the refrigerator for more potato chips) is the most formidable time-period competition.

Meyers, by contrast, approached his premiere as if the goal was simply to create a second hour of Fallon’s version of “The Tonight Show,” with a stock bit involving Venn diagrams that would have been the fourth or fifth best in O’Brien’s former bag of tricks.

On the plus side, Meyers came across as relaxed and loose, riffing on his show’s micro-budget and acknowledging the jokes that fell flat. The writing, however, simply wasn’t that strong — with a preponderance of uninspired Olympic gags — which seems especially weak given the front-loading and extra preparation time that inevitably goes into an opening night for this sort of venture.

Former “Update” partner Amy Poehler didn’t provide much of a test of Meyers’ interviewing skills as his first guest, given the rapport the two share. Of course, that meant holding Vice President Joe Biden second, which allowed Poehler (with whom Biden previously appeared in a “Parks and Recreation” cameo) to practically co-host the show. Too bad she can’t be around tomorrow, when Kanye West drops by.

Meyers certainly has the potential to wear well, but the play-it-safe approach suggests little interest in tinkering with the latenight template — and indeed, what looks like a desire to slavishly replicate it, only with less comfortable chairs.

NBC and Michaels might have decided with all the bets they’re laying down, they’d like to program the risk out of latenight as much as possible. Fair enough, but if the new “Late Night’s” premiere is any guide, they appear in danger of drubbing the edge and fun out of it as well.

TV Review: 'Late Night With Seth Meyers'

(Series; NBC, Tue. Feb. 25, 12:35 a.m.)


Produced by Broadway Video and Universal Television.


Executive producer, Lorne Michaels; producers, Mike Shoemaker, Alex Baze, Eric Leiderman; supervising producer, Hillary Hunn; line producer, Jen Sochko; director, Alex Vietmeier; head writer, Baze; senior talent executive, Haleigh Raff. 60 MIN.


Host: Seth Meyers. With: Fred Armisen

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 21

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Heidi Gallagher says:

    Love this show. In particular when Fred mentions his “inventions “. And no I have an even more renewed respect for Fred and the show with the revelation of Fred mentioning that The Dammed is one of his favorite bands. Very very cool!!!

  2. Seth Myers should be fired

  3. Seth Myers is not funny. He relies on old SNL cast members, and content to try to be funny. but he is just terrible. Seth NBC should fire you.

  4. Seth Myers is still at SNL where he wasn’t funny at all. He brings in SNL cast that can’t find work and they suck too. NBC get a new late night host, soon

  5. Me says:

    I love Seth and I love his show BUT he’s set :( this desk is great but he’s chairs are AWFUL! Soooo tiny and his “little spot” that the desk and chairs are on way too small. It’s not good !!!

  6. Jason E. says:

    I think many of the reviewers look at previous hosts with rose-colored glasses. Letterman and Conan’s early episodes were not very good at all. It really took over a year for either to start to find their groove and their audience. Fallon got better a lot faster, but I have been very disappointed in his Tonight Show. Not because it isn’t funny, but it is just Late Night with a new set and an hour earlier.

  7. RLO says:

    Late night with Seth Meyers really SUCKS! The only one that thinks he is funny is Seth him self. I can’t watch this CRAP! He won’t last long!

  8. Louise Brown Dollman says:

    Please, Seth, put your hands in your pockets. You make a hand movement with every single word you say. It’s so irritating, I can’t watch you anymore.

  9. George Foote says:

    I have never seen, a more horrible monologue in my life. What is this garbage. At least when we had Conan, he acknowledged a dumb ass joke, and waited for the pity applause (which is damn near every time for Seth) to yield before torturing us with the next blunder.

  10. jim says:

    Has anyone noticed how much Seth Meyers and Elen Degenerous look alike. Oops sorry had a John Travolta moment. Ellen DeGeneres. They could pass for brother and sister. Seriously! Put both there faces together and they have a lot of the same features like eyes, mouth and basic facial features. She would be a great next guest. He has a good show. I am very happy for him.

  11. B Allen says:

    Have watched the show 3 times and each time I end-up changing channels. He just doesn’t measure up to the job and unfortunately appears to be better suited to the Saturday Night Life news skit… brief snd quick, not made for extended broadcast time. Won ‘t watch it again.

  12. Mike says:

    You keep potato chips in the Fridge?

  13. Gary says:

    Congratulations Seth Meyers on putting together a Very Good 1st Late Night w/Seth Meyers show! I can only imagine the nerves you were experiencing! I appreciate the low key direction you may be leaning towards, however you ARE in the BIG APPLE for gosh sakes! Get a desk that conveys CONFIDENCE! Because the desk you’re using; conveys anything but Confidence! Adding a chair to the ultra small set so Amy could sit W/V.P. Biden was absolutely amaturish…Is it too much ask to have the correct # of chairs on the set at the beginning? One last thing, You gave us WAY TOO MANY News Headlines in your monologue! We are not worthy of your Extraordinary WIT! This is where I think the nerves were getting the best of you. Slow down & work the heck out of half of those well written killer One Liners! Get Fred to add some of his Brilliant Wit to help the ‘Slow to Understand’ New York audience get the good jokes quicker! BTW the Deer joke…Hilarious! Tire Changing episode…UNBELIEVABLE!…Love your humility! You’ll be Great Seth, you care & it shows. Words to Live By…People DO NOT Care how much you KNOW, until they KNOW how much you CARE!

  14. bptr says:

    I am just watching the show for the first time now (second show).
    The first thing I noticed is that he delivers his monologue exactly like he is reading the news on SNL – stares at a cue card and reads it like a list with a smirk on his face the whole time to let us know that it is comedy. has he ever even done any stand-up?

    I guess it’s only fair to give it a few weeks to see if anything develops.

    As a side note, Kanye West was on the show and said “If you go to Europe, ITS a lot of nudity on tv”.
    The word “THERE’S” just doesn’t exist in the black vernacular- and no one seems to notice this.

  15. bptr says:

    “stumbling to the refrigerator for more potato chips” ????
    What planet are you from???

  16. Lacey Elkin says:

    Who puts their potato chips in the refrigerator, Brian????

  17. jeff parrish says:

    He looked and sounded robotic and uncomfortable. The pete Holmes show is much better. I was rooting for it to be better because I love fred armisen.

  18. sparafucile says:

    I wish the very best to Seth Myers. He has made me laugh for years on SNL, and he’ll be a hit with his own show. Myers came out like he already owned it – relaxed and real, and happy as hell! I LOVED that Armisen is his band leader. EPIC! And, of course, wishing Fallon on his great success – I could never figure out who was watching Jay Leno anyway.

  19. FredR says:

    That was a funny and interesting show! It was way better than Fallon. In fact they should switch the shows’ time slots.

  20. Joe says:

    Mr. Lowry, the two previous Late Night hosts were not David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. They were the first two. The previous two were Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon.

More TV News from Variety