Seth Meyers officially takes over for fellow Weekend Update alum Jimmy Fallon as the host of Late Night with Monday's inaugural episode, featuring appearances from Amy Poehler and Vice President Joe Biden. In advance of the show's premiere, Esquire's Scott Raab spoke to Meyers about being Jewish (he's not), leaving SNL, and what we can expect from the new Late Night.
Among the gems is an anecdote about a sketch Meyers wrote for his final episode of Saturday Night Live, which made it to dress rehearsal only to be met with crickets.
SR: Hilarious. Was it hard saying goodbye to SNL?
SM: My last SNL with Melissa McCarthy, I wrote a sketch and went to dress [rehearsal], where she was a woman at a Super Bowl party and Bobby Moynihan wanted to deliver her chicken wings, and she wanted to do a full count before she paid him.
SM: So you laughed the way everyone laughed when I pitched it, but there’s no sketch there. You pitch something and you get a laugh and it goes to your head. You start going, I might have something. Been there 12 and a half years, second-longest-serving cast member, I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of sketches, and my last sketch that I ever wrote, I’m sitting there at dress and it’s dead silence. I just turned to Lorne [Michaels] and I said, “What are you going to do without me?”
SR: As head writer, you’re a shepherd in a way. You’ve already been a team leader.
SM: Yeah, you just try to help wherever you can. SNL has endured because there’s no aim of uniformity. It’s not like “This is an SNL sketch.” With Andy and the Lonely Island guys, there was no saying, “You know, we don’t really do those kind of films.” They just kind of let them go out and do that kind of film, and then it like gave the show wings for, like, three years when the show really needed wings. When they pitched the “D*** in a Box” idea to me, I was like, “That’s the dumbest idea.”
SR: It’s brilliant in its own way.
SM: “D*** in a Box” is a dumb idea written by geniuses. That’s what I think SNL is: the high-brow take on the low-brow subject