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Q&A With Seth Meyers, Or Why He’d Be Okay With Being A Late Night TV Ghost

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Photo Credit: Michael Kovac/ Getty Images Entertainment

Photo Credit: Michael Kovac/ Getty Images Entertainment

0753a Gary Craig
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Seth Meyers has an exciting year coming up, with the return of SNL for a new season this Fall, and taking over the helm at Late Night in early 2014 when host Jimmy Fallon moves on to replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.  Meyers talked all about his new gig, and some funny SNL recollections, when he stopped by Craig & Company.

Craig & Co: You have to settle an argument for us– You did an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld.  My contention is that in the coffee shop, those other people have to be actors or extras, because if you and Seinfeld walk into a coffee shop, people would not leave you alone to have a cup of coffee.  What’s the deal?

Seth Meyers: They were actually people in that restaurant– by the way, it was in Brooklyn– people in Brooklyn are notoriously too cool for school, they don’t want to be caught pretending like they care that celebrities were there.  But I know for a fact they weren’t extras because someone came up to me to say ‘I was in the background of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee!’ and I like that [they] could resist not saying hello then, but now they feel like they were a co-star in a TV show with me.

What’s the deal with you looking like Hugh Grant, totally, all the time?

Looking like Hugh Grant was a good thing to have in the mid 90s…  That was the time, before I was on television, that was about the best line I had for a woman.

Are you gonna complete the season on SNL?

I think the reality is I won’t be able to do that. I think the plan will be to shift over when we premiere [Late Night] on February 24th.  As much as I’d love to stay on the show, it seems a little irresponsible to do two at once. The launching of a new show takes a lot of focus, also with how well Cecily [Strong] is doing behind the desk, it’s pretty obvious I am a non-essential worker at this point.

Are you at all worried things may not completely go through? Jay Leno has great ratings these days…

Jay is the best, I’ve been lucky enough to talk to Jay a couple of times, he’s been really wonderful.  He called me when this first happened.

He’s lying to you, no matter what he says.

I believe that, too, but they’re excellent lies. I have no complaint about the quality of the lies. [laughs] But I won’t believe it until I’m standing on that monologue spot on February 24th.  I’m an incredibly pessimistic person, if this was taken away from me I would say I completely understand.

Jay could say ‘I don’t think I’m gonna go anywhere, I’m gonna stay where I am.’  The trickle down effect means, you don’t get your show…

I think at the very least they’ll let me keep my NBC security pass, and let me walk the halls like some sort of late night ghost.

I hear you’re a raging Red Sox fans… are you one of those foam finger guys that screams and paints their face?

It is Soxtober right now, it’s very exciting.  I think like a lot of us, I’ve become a little more reasonable of a Red Sox fan after 2004. I still bleed red, I’m still very excited.  I scheduled two very poorly scheduled stand up comedy shows the next two nights during games 4 and 5, so I guess I was a little pessimistic about the Sox chances when I scheduled these shows three months ago. But that will be the price I will pay.

Before you complete the season, what is the worst thing you’ve seen backstage at SNL?

There are so many weird things. I would say the craziest was the time Ashley Simpson got caught lip synching on the show.  Everybody was walking in the halls, because often times you’re getting ready for a sketch, you’re not really paying attention to what’s happening on the music stage.  I think at the time I was dressed up as Michael Caine or some ridiculous thing like that, and people were running through the halls saying ‘Did you hear what happened???’ That is still the thing I most remember being a very tense moment of the show.

Are you at all freaking out thinking, okay, being part of an ensemble group is one thing, but now, it’s my own show, it’s all on me?

I wasn’t, but I am now.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.  [laughs] The great secret about SNL is you go out there every week with 15 other people, and a writing staff of 15 more, and certainly the most intense part of this next chapter is having [my] name on the show.  But we’re gonna follow that SNL model and hire as many smart, funny people as possible and hopefully we’ll be alright.

–Bill Sencio, 96.5 TIC/ Hartford

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