Seth Meyers is in his comfort era as 'Late Night' turns 10

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FILE - Seth Meyers arrives at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles. Meyers celebrates his tenth year hosting "Late Night with Seth Meyers." (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Time flies when you're hosting a late-night show four times a week. But Seth Meyers admits it took a while to feel comfortable as host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” which is marking its 10th anniversary.

“It's a journey everyone takes when you get a show like this,” he said recently in an interview over Zoom.

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It took about six months to establish "a baseline of confidence.” Over time, he also decided to skip the late-night tradition of standing for an opening monologue in favor of sitting at his desk the whole show.

“Once people stopped seeing my legs, we turned a corner,” he jokes. He also wears more casual clothing instead of suits.

In the last decade, Meyers has launched signature segments, including “A Closer Look,” the in-depth comedic take on current events. He also embarks on day-drinking excursions with celebrities like Rihanna and Dua Lipa and gives his writers the opportunity to explain a joke they wrote that didn't land.

“It’s fun to talk about jokes that go badly because, any writer will tell you, you work just as hard on the jokes that bomb,” he says.

There's also the digital series “Corrections,” where Meyers responds to YouTube comments pointing out his mistakes. It's written exclusively by Meyers and taped on Thursday nights in front of crew members, with a Negroni on the desk.

Meyers will celebrate the show's milestone on Monday’s episode, with fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. In a conversation with The Associated Press edited for brevity and clarity, Meyers reflects on his favorite moments — and his goal to reach 25 years working in the NBC building at 30 Rockefeller Center.


AP: Some favorite moments on your show were the wild stories of your son's (very quick) births. Are you happy you shared?

MEYERS: Both times my boys were born, it was really special to go in and speak off the cuff about it, knowing that it would be this really nice historical record to one day show them. Ashe, who I would have thought had the craziest story, was born first. He was born on a Sunday, and I took Monday off. And then Axel’s birth was so good that I remember on Sunday saying to my wife, “I think I got to go to set.” She was like, “Yeah, I get it.”

AP: Why did you decide to stop wearing a suit on the air and to dress more casually?

MEYERS: It seemed silly to wear a suit with no audience there (during the pandemic), so I was in casual clothes. Then when the audience came back, I just felt more in my own skin. Dressing more like myself allows me to be more like myself. And I don’t know if it’s permanent, but it is a nice feeling. The other day I put on a suit for something else and it was just, “Blech!” I like that I don’t ever feel that way.

AP: “A Closer Look” came about during the Trump administration. And here we are in another presidential election year,with Trump running for reelection. What are your thoughts creatively?

MEYERS: We just have to respond to what’s happening in the world. “A Closer Look,” for us, has always been cathartic to write, and we hope it’s cathartic to watch. We’re just happy to have built this segment on our show that can sort of take all news. It certainly does feel like deja vu in a way. It is what it is.

AP: You often mention your writers by nameduring the show and bring them on. Why?

MEYERS: I probably still identify more with the writers than anything else, and I love being a part of a writing staff. Over the pandemic, when it was just the crew, you could blame a joke on a writer and get a laugh because they knew them. ... You're showing people behind the curtain a bit.

AP: You also have a very conversational style to interviewing, with no cue cards. Does that lend itself to the kinds of guests you ideally want on the show?

MEYERS: There’s a tier of guests that all of us would take, and I’m sure you and I could both name those names. And then you have a chance to be selective in a way that you think reflects what your show’s DNA is. We’re always looking for those guests that are a little bit more offbeat or maybe just fit with my vibe better. The longer you do the show to build the rapport with people, you get really excited when, for example, James Spader’s coming back, who is one of my favorite guests. You only have to ask him one question and he talks all day. Dakota Johnson was also a recent guest who has a vibe that is all her own. Interviewing her does not feel like interviewing anybody else, and that makes it really fun.

AP: Will you be doing this job in 10 years?

MEYERS: I don’t know. I’ve tried in my career never to think that far ahead. I would like to do it for a few more years. I can’t imagine anything being more enjoyable than that. I’m coming up on 25 years at 30 Rock, and I’m pretty sure I will get a watch. Or maybe a nice pen. I’ll tell you this, if I don’t make it to 25, there should be an investigation because that might just mean they don’t want to spend that watch money.

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