Not Wearing Suits, Bringing Back Live Audience – The Hollywood Reporter
Seth Meyers has been open about how having to do remote editions of NBC’s Late Night during the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately benefited the show.
But while he’s since returned to hosting the show from its 30 Rock studio, he’s continued to sport his pandemic-era casual wardrobe.
“We made a choice not to go back to wearing suits, mostly because the show’s on at 12:30 [at night] and I don’t think anybody who’s watching is wearing a fucking suit,” Meyers told his former Saturday Night Live castmate Aidy Bryant during a talk at the Tribeca Festival last week. “If people were wearing suits in their home at 12:30, I would put my suit back on.”
Late Night was also one of the last broadcast late-night shows to bring back a live audience, but the crowds returned in October 2021, and Meyers said, during an audience Q&A following his chat with Bryant, it seemed like the time was right.
“We didn’t quite know what we were saying by not having [a live audience],” Meyers said. “And I also think it felt like we were hanging onto a pandemic thing after it had gone away, like somebody who’s like ‘I’m just going to stay in this cabin in the woods. I think this is me now.’”
Meyers has also brought back Late Night‘s “day drinking” segment, which the host told Bryant is an anxious experience to tape.
“I get super stressed, I genuinely do, because I like about my show that it’s all written and I do feel like I have a writer’s mind, even though I came from improv,” Meyers said. “I like knowing what the plan’s going to be and with day drinking, you can’t. So the good news is I’m super stressed when it starts and then I kill that part of my head with alcohol.”
Even afterward, Meyers said he can’t watch the initial version of the segment. “When the first cut of it comes in, I have my producer Mike Shoemaker watch it first. I’m like, ‘You have to watch it first and tell me it’s OK. I don’t want to watch it if it’s going to be a shit show.’”
This past Thanksgiving, Meyers was also able to continue his tradition of having his family members as his guests in studio for Late Night‘s Thanksgiving episode, which he told Bryant is the show’s highest-rated episode of the year, but not for the reason his parents think.
“Our Thanksgiving show is always our highest-rated show of the year because NBC has the late Thanksgiving football game. So it’s just monster ratings compared to the rest of the year,” he said. “Somebody made the mistake of telling my parents, and they don’t want to hear the part about football. Like I just hear my mom being like, ‘It’s the highest rated show of the year,’ and I’m like, ‘It’s not because of you guys.’”
Meyers and Bryant also looked back on their time together at SNL, with Bryant praising his rewriting abilities and guidance.
“He really was the most generous, truly kind, helpful. I just always was so impressed because Seth would read over every single writer’s, every cast member’s script on Tuesday night at like five in the morning,” she said. “And just to give people like ‘Oh, maybe cut this’ or ‘Punch this up, here’s some jokes for this page.’ Not everyone does that. And it really was life changing and how I learned to write was from you.”
Meyers also conceded that he enjoyed working on rewrites of “already funny” pieces of comedy so much that he used to extend the process.
“I used to think that people would figure me out because I used to like to stretch out rewrites because that was my favorite part of the week, just being at the table with funny people,” he said. “This was before I was married and had kids, and the people who were married and had kids were like, ‘Hey, buddy, we gotta go home to our families.’ And I was like, ‘This is so much fun.’”