It’s a little odd writing a “goodbye” essay about Seth Meyers when you take into account that we’re all about to get a whole lot more Seth Meyers in our lives once he leaves “Saturday Night Live” after the Feb. 1 broadcast. Perhaps that’s why we haven’t seen an outpouring of Meyers farewells in the same way we did for recent departing “SNL” stars, such as Kristen Wiig or Bill Hader. With those two, we now have to pay money to see them perform; with Seth Meyers, he’s going to be on television sets a lot in the near future as the host of “Late Night.” He’s becoming more a part of our cultural lives, not less. For “SNL,” though, he’s leaving a gaping hole — an empty gap that you probably won’t even notice until he’s gone.
The most remarkable thing about Seth Meyers taking over “Late Night” after Jimmy Fallon departs for “The Tonight Show” is that Meyers has never demanded the spotlight. (Or, at the very least, he does a very good job at making it seem like he’s not demanding the spotlight.) Even by the time he was hosting “Weekend Update,” some of Meyers’ best moments were in the way he set up other people’s punchlines.
His legacy reads like a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game: Meyers is the guy who shared the stage with both Brooks Wheelan and Will Ferrell. Only Darrell Hammond has had a longer tenure, but for some reason we were all well aware that Hammond had been on the show forever. Somehow, Meyers has almost kept his longevity a secret.
Meyers started on “SNL” during the 2001-2002 season. As he often recounts in interviews, his first show was the first “SNL” after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. Meyers didn’t appear as co-host of “Weekend Update” until 2006, however, and it’s almost bizarre watching re-runs of “SNL” when Meyers was part of the regular sketch-comedy troupe. If you do remember Meyers pre-“Update,” it’s most likely as one half of The Needlers or as the DJ in the back of Jarret’s room in the Jimmy Fallon/Horatio Sans sketch of the same name. (Meyers has joked that, pre-“Update,” he grew tired of playing the third male lead characters that Jimmy Fallon had passed on playing.)
Meyers’ first sketch appearance was in the second show of that 2001 season as an office worker in the now-classic “Patriotic Shorts,” sketch in which Ferrell shows up at the office wearing American flag bikini shorts. Meyers’ role was to look disgusted, then join in on a group “U.S.A., U.S.A” chant. Sitting across from him, also not doing much, is Amy Poehler … which is nice foreshadowing for what would come five years later.
Eventually, Meyers would build a repertoire of recurring characters that we all have pretty much forgotten about –- not because they weren’t memorable, but because Meyers’ run on “Update” has pretty much negated the first part of his …read more
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