Seth Meyers, anchor of “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update,” is turning the big four-oh in a couple of weeks, and, following the Golden Rule of all comedians, his timing could not be better.
Fending off a potential midlife crisis as deftly as he played straight man to “Stefon the Club Boy” on “SNL,” Meyers is departing the classic TV sketch comedy troupe. Unlike other cast members over the years who found themselves aging out of the show’s demographic, Meyers knows exactly where he will be landing.
Professionally, it’s a big leap. Geographically and personally, it is right in Meyers’ comfort zone – as they used to say over at CBS, it’s all in the family.
In February, Meyers will take over at NBC’s “Late Night,” when current host and Meyers’ good friend Jimmy Fallon leaves for Jay Leno’s spot at “The Tonight Show.” The job keeps Meyers in 30 Rock, the same building as the “Saturday Night Live” studios and Fallon’s new “Tonight,” and he’ll still be working for Lorne Michaels, also executive producer of “SNL.”
But before he hits his mark for the first “Late Night” monologue, Meyers is polishing his old stand-up chops in places like Niagara Falls, where he performs Friday in the Seneca Events Center in the Seneca Niagara Casino. He said by phone last week that he’s been keeping up with the live comedy act for a few years.
“It’s nice to get on the road and do the old gig now and then,” Meyers said. “ ‘SNL’ helped me grow a lot, but for the new show, having done stand-up for the past eight or nine years probably helped even more.”
“We really want to focus on the opening monologues,” he continued. On “Late Night,” he said, “I’ll be going out for 10 minutes a night instead of an hour, so it’s a good experience to have.”
His audience in the Falls can expect a different take on current affairs than Meyers delivers with the “Update” map behind him.
“I do like to talk about what’s going on in the world, but I also talk about things that are going on around me and in my life; it’s more personal,” Meyers said.
One thing going on for him is settling into married life. Not with Stefon, whose nuptials Meyers hysterically disrupted in a spoof of “The Graduate” at the end of the 2013 “SNL” season. In real life, Meyers and lawyer Alexi Ashe were married Sept. 1 on Martha’s Vineyard. Instead of drawing tabloid attention a la the Kardashians, the cute couple’s wedding was so fashion-centric it landed them in the current issue of Vogue magazine.
Mr. and Mrs. Meyers are on newsstands now, he in a Ralph Lauren Black Label tux and the bride in a custom Carolina Herrera lace gown. Even their dog shows up.
“When Vogue asks if they can do your wedding, you can’t say ‘no’ to your wife,” is how Meyers explained it. “It was OK, since I got a comedian [‘SNL’ writer John Mulaney] to write about it.”
While there are no official rules (yet), he said he doesn’t expect to be making a lot of marriage jokes on his show. First, he is too happy, and second, he has an understanding wife.
“She does say I’ve ‘misremembered’ things about her that I say on stage, but as long as I run things by her, I’m OK,” Meyers said. “She’s gotten very good at rolling her eyes at me.”
And that is how he rolls.
Despite his Vogue layout, calling President Obama “Louis Gossett Sr.” to his face and kissing Bill Hader on the lips on “SNL,” Meyers comes across as a down-to-earth New Hampshire guy who gets along with his parents and appreciates every good thing that has ever happened to him.
He says it is going to be “heartbreaking” to leave “Saturday Night Live” after 13 years.
He is “incredibly honored” to have the chance to host “Late Night.”
And as hard as you look, it is almost impossible to find video clips of him being “mean funny” about anyone, except maybe Donald Trump. Meyers’ comic strength is plugging into what regular people are thinking – like in the “Really?!” segment on “Weekend Update.”
As he said, “Having a normal life is never a disadvantage. You can make a lot of jokes from having a normal life that people will get.”
Two topics in his normal life that he likes talking about are politics and sports – but he is a much bigger fan of the Red Sox than he is of Congress. For a non-election year, politicians have been serving up a wealth of material for comics.
“I assume there will be some Canadians there Friday, and they might also find the current state of American politics pretty ridiculous,” Meyers said.
The Americans in the audience might feel the same way. His main goal is finding out what each audience wants as fast as possible.
“When I walk out on stage – you always have butterflies, but once they start laughing, it goes away and it’s fun,” Meyers said. “The longer they keep me waiting, the worse it is, so hopefully it won’t be long. Then afterward, we all remember the rest of the shows, not the scary beginning.”
What: Seth Meyers
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Seneca Events Center, Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls