Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Late Night With Seth Meyers

by Bill Holmes

On Monday, 02/24/14, we had the premier of the second new late night show. This one is actually called Late Night. Since jimmy Fallon left to take over The Tonight Show, NBC needed a new Late Night host. In keeping with the Saturday Night Live theme, that new host is Seth Meyers. Since Jimmy and Seth don't seem to be enough SNL alums, the new Late Night bandleader/sidekick is Fred Armisen. 

The show had a cold opening with Seth sitting at the desk writing a thank you note to Jimmy with the same background music Jimmy uses for his thank you note segments. Seth promised to do only original comedy material. It was a funny touch.

Then there was the real opening with the band playing and the announcer telling us who will be on the show. The opening music was nondescript and the announcer was unseen and unidentified. Seth came out through some sliding doors/panels and proceeded to deliver a terrible monologue. Even the studio audience barely laughed at several of the jokes. Seth stiffly read the lines in rapid fire. On a couple of them that got few laughs he tried a saver which didn't do any better. At one point after a bad joke he mentioned that they had their first bomb of the show. While he was right that it was a bomb, it was far from the first one. The bloodbath lasted about seven minutes. It was painful.

Back at the desk he had a brief chat with Fred that seemed scripted and which was not funny. He then thanked some people including his family. Next Seth told an not very funny story about his automobile incompetence. After a commercial break he did a Venn diagram bit that had some good and some bad, at least it was original. There were then the obligatory Olympic jokes. It's time to end the NBC Olympics promos. One thing I noticed is that Seth's voice seemed unusually high. I don't know if this was because he was nervous or his shorts were too tight. I realize he doesn't have a deep baritone, but his voice was often distractingly high.

The new Late Night set looks crappy and cheap. In a huge original move, the band is on the left. The desk is on legs so you can see Seth's feet and the rollers on his chair. The guest chairs are on long skinny legs rather than the usual upholstered chairs or couches the other talk shows use. It looks like the whole set was bought at Big Lots. 

Amy Poehler was the first guest, another Saturday Night Live alum. She spent time talking with Fred before the interview with Seth really started. Of course Amy and Seth couldn't compliment each other enough although the fawning was not as bad a Jimmy Fallon does with his guests. It wasn't a terrible interview.

Next guest was Vice President Joe Biden. He apparently had appeared on Amy's Parks and Recreation show so they joked around about that. It wasn't a terrible segment, but there were no hard or political questions. That was a little disappointing.

To wrap it up musical guest A Great Big World sang a rather downer and overwrought song. 

Overall the show was a dud. The monologue was a complete disaster and nothing that followed was any more than mediocre. The house band was a nonfactor. I found the set visually unattractive and distracting. Seth also needs to lower and modulate his voice. I expected better from Seth Meyers based on his SNL work. I'll give him another couple of looks but Seth and the show need to get much better. In combination with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the new NBC late night lineup will not be where I tune in very often.


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