An Interview with Seth Meyers

By Courtney Flagg
News Editor
Courtney Flagg ’12 interviewed comedian Seth Meyers before his Center Stage performance Saturday night on Sojka Lawn. Discussing everything from pre-performance jitters to advice to fellow performers, Meyers reveals the secrets behind his success.

What’s it like being back on a college campus? Had you heard of Bucknell before this?

It’s exciting, I mean I always had a great time in college and I do a lot of these college shows, particularly these early-in-the-college-year shows. People seem to be in a good mood–school hasn’t gotten them down yet. And I have heard of Bucknell before, I grew up on the East coast so I knew a bunch of people who went here.

Are you nervous to go on tonight?

Well, I feel like it‘s bad if you don’t feel any sort of butterflies at all because youre getting put in front of a large group of people to perform. The entire night is sort of your responsibility. So you want to have some butterflies but at the same time you don’t want to be too nervous.

What do you get most nervous doing?

I get most nervous doing Weekend Update on the air, just because it’s hard to forget that six million people are watching you.

How do you get your material?

With Update it’s nice because you kind of just let the dudes lead you. They say “you need to write jokes about this, this and this.But with sketch writing it’s a different approach. You might be inspired by who the host is that week, or you might be inspired by something you saw on TV, or something you read about, or an idea you come up with at 2 a.m.

What’s an idea that you came up with at 2 a.m.?

I wrote a scene for Jon Hamm, called Jon Hamm’s John Ham, which is about a ham you can eat while going to the bathroom.

Were you always funny? How did you become interested in comedy? Where you the class-clown type?

Well, I always liked comedy. I think I was considered to have a good sense of humor growing up. People that I went to high school with I think would’ve told you I was a good fit for Saturday Night Live.

How did you get from Northwestern to SNL?

I was in Northwestern and I started doing improv stuff in Chicago and ultimately I was doing a two-person show in Chicago and some scouts from SNL came and saw that show. I just got lucky that they came that night and saw me.

Favorite guest host?

There are so many great guest hosts. Obviously someone like Justin Timberlake–he’s come back I think it’s three times (I’ve been lucky enough to have been there for all three). He’s an exceptional host. The multi-time hosts are some of the great ones in recent years. People like James Franco, Jon Hamm and Justin Timberlake are some of my favorite.

Favorite musical guest? Least favorite musical guest?

Yes! Wilco. I’m a huge Wilco fan and I was really happy when they finally did the show. Arcade Fire as wellthey’re coming back this year and I’m really excited about that. A lot of my favorite bands have played on the show.

Are you looking forward to anything in particular that is going to happen this year?

Well, we have four new cast members, which is really exciting, and it’s been a while since we’ve brought on that many new people so that will be fun. And Amy Poehler is hosting the season premiere.

Do you have a favorite co-worker?

Amy Poehler. Even though we don’t technically work together anymore. She left me …

Well in the past you did! Was she the easiest to work with?

Yes. Easiest and most fun.

Do you have a favorite skit or sketch?

Yeah, I really enjoyed the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin stuff. I wrote a lot of those with Tina and that was really fun. On the sillier side, I wrote a scene with Christopher Walken years ago called “Pranksters”–it was a prank show.

How do you keep your composure during the sketches?

I don’t know how well I keep my composure during some stuff … I think people want to know you’re having fun out there. I feel like I have the right to laugh at other people. I try not to laugh at myself. When other people are being funny, I don’t fight it.

What are your plans for the future?

I have found, up to this point at least, that it’s very hard to plan in this business. I think it’s important to do a good job with whatever you have in front of you and just wait for things to present themselves. So no long-term plans yet. A lot of short-term plans, though.

Do you have any advice for students who want to break into the business?

Well, I think the biggest thing is just to work at it all the time and try and get up on stage as often as you can. When you’re young, use as much of that time to get the failing out of the way because you will fail a lot in this business so you might as well start now because you can knock those failures out of the way.

Lightning Round Questions:

Favorite food?

Chicken

Least favorite food?

Uncooked chicken

Favorite movie?

Chinatown

Favorite book?

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Man-crush?

Colin Farrell

Woman-crush?

Anna Wintour

Favorite TV show–not SNL?

The Wire

Favorite childhood TV show?

Cheers

Favorite Disney Movie?

The Rescuers

Favorite sports teams?

Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite word?

The F-word

Favorite boy band?

The Beatles

Favorite alcoholic beverage?

Just good old-fashioned beer

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Team Frankenstein

Guilty pleasure?

Video games–FIFA (soccer)

Boxers, briefs or boxer-briefs?

I guess boxer-briefs

Best cheese?

Gouda

Favorite foreign country name?

The Netherlands

Favorite place in NYC?

The West Village

Fan experience?

Once, somebody in a store asked me how they knew me and I said “Saturday Night Live” and they said, “That’s not good enough.”

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