Things have gotten off to a rough start for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” with the show’s humor proving to be shaky at best and non-existent at times, but if past incarnations of the show can tell us one thing it’s that it’s far too early to tell how Meyers’ version of ‘Late Night’ is going to turn out.
When Meyers’ predecessor, Jimmy Fallon, left ‘Late Night’ for “The Tonight Show” in February he had taken a show from nearly unwatchable at the beginning to one of the greatest late night television talk shows of all-time. I’m not saying Meyers’ version of ‘Late Night’ is going to follow this same path from terrible to terrific that Fallon did, but I wouldn’t put it past him.
If my memory serves correctly Meyers’ first couple of weeks actually was better than Fallon’s were when he took over the ‘Late Night’ post from Conan O’Brien five years ago. The highlight of the shows thus far have been Meyers’ extreme likability – which is something that he has in common with Fallon – and the personal stories that Meyers shares with his audience. The first couple of weeks of interviews have also been relatively interesting and surprising given the fact that Meyers seemed concerned about the prospect of interviewing celebrities before the show began in numerous talk show appearances himself.
I have no doubt that Meyers is one of the funniest comedians in the world having watched him do Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live” for many years and having seen him do stand-up in person a few years back at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark. His witty, sarcastic demeanor is a style of humor that sits well with me and should prove to be a hit with audiences, especially of the younger variety, when Meyers gets more comfortable doing the show. Right now Meyers seems a little wooden or bland during his monologue, even while some of the punch lines are top notch. He seems uncomfortable doing a monologue, which is surprising given that he did something incredibly similar as Weekend Update anchor. If anything you’d think a monologue would be more comfortable or easier for him given the fact that it’s pre-taped and not live like ‘SNL.’
The worst thing that ‘LNSM’ has going for it early on is the comedy segment between the monologue and the interviews. These little sketches aren’t funny whatsoever and feature performances from the ‘Late Night’ writing staff. I fear the writing staff could be what’s holding the show back because many of these contributors are merely annoying instead of funny.
My biggest disappointment with the show in its earliest form is its incredible waste of the immensely talented Fred Armisen, who leads the ‘Late Night’ band. One of the show’s most overplayed bits (yes, it’s two weeks old and already has an overplayed bit) is when Meyers brings up one of Armisen’s ludicrous side projects. It’s the exact same joke every single night and it doesn’t give Armisen the chance to show his talents.
I sincerely hope that Seth Meyers’ version of ‘Late Night’ will improve with time and feel that it likely will. It took Jimmy Fallon about a year before his version of the show really got its footing. If you’re not really liking what you’re seeing from “Late Night with Seth Meyers” at the moment it might be best to set it aside for a little while, let it work out some of its growing pains and then come back to it at a later date – that’s what I did with Fallon’s version of the shoe and when I returned I found it had become maybe the best show on late night television. Hopefully Meyers’ version has the same kind of growth spurt.
“Late Night with Seth Meyers” can be seen locally weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on KARK Conway Corp. Channel 4.