Seth Meyers' First Late Night: How Did He Do?
Ladies and gentlemen, those APPLAUSE lights are flashing, so let's all put our hands together for Seth Meyers' first episode of Late Night! The veteran Saturday Night Live player and "Weekend Update" anchor is now officially an after-hours talk-show host, his butt firmly planted in Jimmy Fallon's old seat. What did you think of Meyers' debut? Let's break down his first show bit by bit, and rate each segment on a scale of 1 to 10.
Cold Open: Jimmy Fallon's Thank You Notes
"Thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for taking over The Tonight Show at 11:30, so I could take over Late Night at 12:30. I promise to treat it with respect and dignity, and to only use it to do completely original comedy pieces... starting now." A cute way to pay homage to and make the transition from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to Late Night With Seth Meyers. 7 out of 10
I liked Meyers' opening line, "I'm gonna shake stuff up and start this thing with a monologue," but his first attempt at delivering the nightly speech was a bit of a bust for me. Meyers looked stiff, the pacing felt slow, the jokes were meh—he's definitely going to need more practice in this department. 3 out of 10
Fred Armisen and the 8G Band
Sure! Musically speaking, they seem perfectly capable. Meyers and Armisen are obviously comfortable working together, and there's lots of potential for good banter between them—in fact, I'm almost a little worried that Armisen might overshadow Meyers in that regard. I totally want to check his new History Channel series, Recent History, though. 6 out of 10
New Late Night Segment: "Venn Diagrams"
A series of jokes illustrated by a somewhat animated version of the overlapping-circles graphics you probably remember from grade school, i.e. "On one side we have 'People Who Wear Fedoras,' and on the other side we have 'People Who Are Cool,' and in the middle, we have 'Indiana Jones'—that's it, he's the only one." Nothing inherently wrong with the idea, but it could use some polish. 4 out of 10
The Part Where Meyers Sat at the Desk and Told More Jokes Before His Guests Came Out
Meyers first said thank you to his wife for putting up with him while he prepared for the new gig, and it was sweet. He also told a story about how he's not enough of a man to 1.) own a dog that weighs more than seven pounds or 2.) to change a flat tire, and it was... I dunno, not that surprising, but it sounded natural and was appropriately self-deprecating. Then he did an extended "Olympics Wrap-Up" bit that felt pretty dated. Hey did you guys know that Bob Costas had pinkeye during the Olympics? 5 out of 10
Guest #1: Amy Poehler
"You know her work on Saturday Night Live and the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, I know her as one of my best friends." Poehler is generally amazing, and she was as charming and congratulatory as you'd expect. There were a few moments where I thought the pair's conversation came off as a little too inside-jokey, but for the most part it was pleasant, and Poehler aptly pointed out that not all of Meyers' future guests will be as easy to interview as she was (and subsequently helped him practice for that future by pretending to be a bored actress, to marginally funny effect). Oh and guess what! Poehler also announced that Comedy Central's Broad City, which she executive produces, has been renewed for a second season. 6.5 out of 10
Guest #2: Vice President of the United States Joe Biden
I got the impression that Biden's appearance was predicated on the fact that he once shared a scene with Poehler on Parks and Recreation, but I suppose that doesn't matter, he's an entertaining-enough guy, and Poehler helped facilitate his interview. Meyers gave Biden some goodnatured guff about all those photos (and .GIFs!) from the State of the Union Address; Biden talked about trains and made a solid #politicianjoke about how he'd originally planned to make a major announcement during his visit to the show:
...and then Poehler came through with the perfect punchline. 5.5 out of 10
Musical Guest: A Great Big World
Maybe Meyers should've gone with a more high-profile act for his first show? Or maybe not, I like knowing that Late Night will feature a good mix of performers; which seems implied by the fact that Kanye West is lined up to be musical guest #2. I would've appreciated a more upbeat song, though. 5 out of 10
Ummm, and that was about it! Overall, a pretty acceptable first outing. Even though he clearly has some work to do, Meyers will probably be fine. What'd YOU think?
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