Seth Meyers on His SNL Days, Late Night Show, and The Emmys

August 20, 2014 Updated: August 21, 2014

Straight from the dressing room in Downtown L.A.’s Nokia Theater, where he will host the 66th Annual Primetime Emmys this coming Monday, August 25, Seth Meyers answered fan questions on Reddit during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. 

Meyers, who has been an SNL writer and cast member for a decade has recently become a part of the Late Night crew with his own show. Here he answers some questions about his work at SNL, his new show, and how he’s preparing for the Emmys. 

Q: How could you ask questions like “I’m sorry Stefon, what is a human magic 8-ball?” with a straight face when Bill Hader couldn’t keep it together?

A: In my memory I never did. It was so wonderful being out there with Bill. I just felt like an audience member with the best seat.


Q: Sorry, I’ve wanted to ask one guest of Comedians in Cars this: How much time is spent actually shooting an episode as a guest? Is the conversation completely spontaneous or do you prepare as you do for a show like Late Night?

A: No preparation at all. Jerry pulled up outside my apartment and we spent four hours together. An hour on the road, three eating and talking. Probably four of the most exciting hours of my life. Very few people I know that are more fun to talk about comedy with.


Q: Hi Seth! What has been the most challenging aspect of hosting your own talk-show? Also, do you miss doing Weekend Update with Cecily Strong? You guys had such great comedic chemistry together!

A: I miss her terribly. But we’re in the same building so I get to see her all the time. I’m really glad I was able to spend time with her at the desk. The most challenging aspect is shaving every day as opposed to once a week on Saturday night. 


Q: Seth, who was your favorite guest host on SNL?

A: So many great ones over the year. Jon Hamm, JT, Melissa McCarthy…There are so few that let you down. It’s amazing that people are willing to give an entire week to such a stressful process.


Q: Any chance you will cameo on Portlandia? Your chemistry with Fred is charming and hilarious!

A: The schedule has never worked out but I’m hoping to make it up to Portland soon. I’d love to be there and see Fred do his thing.


Q: Really?

A: Really!?!


Q: Best perk of hosting Late Night?

A: A dressing room with my own bathroom.


Q: My favorite moment of you on Saturday Night Live was on the Season 35 premiere, where after Jenny Slate famously swore in her sketch, you stayed with her during goodnights, giving her what was definitely a much-needed hug. This made me really look up to you, in how you decided to comfort her with a smile even after she screwed up on the show you wrote for. With this in mind, I want to know what you think about those who treat comedy, and especially SNL, like an unforgiving, cruel place. Do you agree? Or not?

A: SNL was an incredibly loving place in my time there. People were out to succeed but not at the expense of their colleagues. By design someone is going to be unhappy at the end of every show. There’s just not enough space for everyone to score each week. But it was never unforgiving and never cruel. As for Jenny, she is such a talented person. I suggest everyone see her film “Obvious Child” which was wonderful. She also killed her segment on Late Night. 


Q: In a perfect world, would you and Stefon be together?

A: It is a perfect world and we are.


Q: What do you miss most about SNL?

A: The people. It’s an amazing lot up on 17. 


Q: Hey Seth, Any advice for aspiring TV screenwriters? What’s the best route to get into entertainment writing? Is being in a comedy troupe particularly important? can online journalism suffice? Thanks!

A: I think there are more ways than ever to find a job in the entertainment industry. The best advice I would give is to create as much content you’re proud of as possible. So if the day comes when somebody wants to see your stuff, it’s ready to go.


Q: Hi Seth, What sketch that you wrote during your time at SNL are you most proud of writing? Why doesn’t SNL release who wrote which sketches? (I.e. on the credits when they are uploaded to Yahoo Screen the next day) I feel like a lot of SNL fans would like to know who wrote what, and that it would be a great way for the fans to become familiar with the writers, who often times can go unappreciated.

A: In my last full season I wrote a lot of stuff I loved. Louis CK as Lincoln, Darrell’s House with Zach and History of Punk with Fred. As far as why they’re not credited it’s a good question. I will say, with rewriting and collaboration giving one writer sole credit would take away from the efforts of the table. I “wrote” the Sarah Palin sketches but often the best jokes came from other people pitching in.


Q: Less of an “ask” and more of a “tell”, but the segment you do right after the monologue where you do updates on the family and personal life are really great, you’re a dynamite storyteller with those. Here’s an “ask” part for you: does it take a lot of work to come up with a new yarn every night, or do those anecdotes come to you pretty naturally?

A: Thanks! I really enjoy doing that. I wasn’t something we planned as much as we discovered. They don’t come easy every day. There are times when it’s a bit more of a struggle mostly because my days can be the same in the middle of a show week. I do find myself trying new things in hopes of finding something new to talk about.


Q: When will we see another “Second Chance Theater”? I loved that bit!

A: We have another one locked and loaded. Hoping to announce soon. But it’s a good one!


Q: What is your favorite comic book?

A: Locke and Key is my most recent fav.

Q: Hi, Seth! I’m from your hometown of Bedford, NH! Your mom taught French to my friends several years ago, I was at your show at our high school auditorium (the local jokes in particular were spot on), and I was in the audience at your third ever Late Night show! So I’m a pretty big fan of yours, and I appreciate having the opportunity to tell you so. My question is a two-parter:1) How do you like the job? Is it a fulfilling line of work? 2) What’s it like to step into the shoes of the late night greats like Jimmy, Letterman, and Conan? Thanks so much!!

A: Bonjour! Great to talk to a fellow Bedfordite. 1)I love my job and it’s incredibly fulfilling. Getting to do it every day is incredible. 2) It’s daunting but at SNL I was stepping into big shoes as well so I learned the best way to handle that kind of pressure is to do your best to ignore it.


Q: So….are you nervous? lol

A: Yes!


Q: Will you be coming back to host SNL anytime soon?

A: Ha! I doubt it!


Q: Why is the Blue Beetle your favorite superhero?, mine is Booster Gold.

A: I loved Justice League International when it first started. Good stories with comic relief. Blue Beetle and Booster were always my favorite but I liked Blue Beetle because he was smarter.


Q: If you could have been on the writing staff of any show (past or present) which would it be? Why?

A: I saw a tape of a writers panel from Caesar’s Hour a few years ago. Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and many more. Would have loved to have been in a room with them. 


Q: Seth, when asked who my celebrity crush is I always answer with you. I am a straight 20 year old male. Now that that is out in the open, what was the biggest change from moving from snl to your own talk show?

A: Thank you! I’m flattered. Doing a show every day versus once a week. The upside is, when something doesn’t work we get to go back out there 24 hours later as opposed to having to sit with it for seven days.


Q: Hey Seth! … My question for you is: How old were you when you first started writing and performing standup and how did you first get involved with it?

A: I had an improv background. And that was something I started doing in college. I came to stand-up later in life. But with writing, that was something I was doing from a very young age. Was lucky to have good teachers who told me I had talent there.


Q: The thing with Fred at the start of the show where he tells what he’s been up to lately is one of my favorite things ever. Are those completely improvised or does he know what your going to ask him about?

A: Completely improvised. No idea what I’m going to ask him.


Q: Hey Seth, I am loving Late Night! Think the Pirates sneak into the playoffs this year?

A: Last week has been brutal. But I think they have a shot. Fingers crossed.


Q: Hi Seth! Out of all of the Emmy nominated shows this year which one has been your favorite?

A: Loved Fargo. 


Q: Hey Seth! What part of the Emmys are you most looking foward to?

A: The after party!


Q: What’s your favorite Stefon nightclub?

A: KEVIN!!!!


Q: What do you think about the lonely island movie that’s been announced?

A: So so excited.


Q: Hey Seth! Is your Game of Thrones still in Spanish?

A: We figured it out but thanks for your concern!


Q: Hey Seth, huge fan of yours since you got started on SNL! My question for you is this: of all the update anchors, who’s your favorite and/or biggest inspiration?

A: Grew up on Dennis Miller. Loved Norm


Q: Do you clear stories you’re going to tell on the show with people before you tell them?

A: I don’t. Eventually I’ll get in trouble but so far, so good!


Q: Seth, Who was your favorite musical guest during your time on SNL?

A: Wilco!


Q: Seth, what impressions/characters did you do for your SNL audition? Those was never your strength but obviously they weren’t bad enough because you got hired. Also, is there anything you can tell us about SNL’s upcoming 40th season special?

A: Impressions were Russell Crowe, David Arquette and Hugh Grant. Characters were an Italian fashion photographer and a guy from Boston.


Q: What is one of your favorite Weekend Update jokes or bits that you were a part of?

A: Loved doing really with Poehler. Loved doing features with fellow cast members.


Q: Who is your favourite all-time ballplayer?

A: Pedro Martinez


Q: Do you ever feel bad about making fun of people? Big fan, thanks.

A: I try hard not to tell any jokes that, were I to see the person I told them about, I wouldn’t feel so bad that I couldn’t say hello. There are very few I’d take back.


Q: When you were a kid did you ever picture your life taking this direction?

A: No. But I never saw it taking any direction.