However nervous Seth Meyers might be for his first show as host of NBC’s “Late Night,” he’ll at least have a comfort zone with his first guest.
Meyers told reporters Sunday (Jan. 19) at NBC’s winter press tour day that Amy Poehler, his former “Weekend Update” co-anchor, will be the first guest on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” which debuts Feb. 24. He jokes that he wanted to get Will Smith and U2, but new “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon beat him to it.
“She’s basically Bono’s common-law wife now, based on what happened at the Golden Globes,” Meyers says.
“Late Night” is still a work in progress five weeks out from its premiere, Meyers and producer Mike Shoemaker admit. Guests are still being booked, and they’re trying to figure out both comedy bits and other things, including a house band: “Not to be coy about music — we are still figuring it out. But that is the plan,” he says.
“Late Night” is now enough of an institution — it’s been on the air for 32 years — that it carries some expectations with it, including being a place for up-and-coming bands and comics and comedy pieces that get people talking. Meyers acknowledges that he’s not “trying to deconstruct the model” with his show, but he also wants to stand out from predecessors David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Fallon.
“I think the biggest way to define yourself is those two, three acts of comedy before the guests come out,” Meyers says. “There’s so much real estate to fill, and often I’ve found at ‘SNL’ the more real estate you have, the more creative ideas come out.”
Meyers is working two jobs at the moment — he’s going to keep working on “Saturday Night Live” and co-anchoring “Weekend Update” through Feb. 1 before devoting himself full-time to “Late Night.” Alex Baze, “Weekend Update’s” head writer, is moving over to “Late Night” with Meyers and has already set up shop in its offices, Meyers says.
“We’re doing a lot of pitch meetings with the ‘Late Night’ writers where they’re pitching desk bits, and we’re deciding which ones to write up,” he says. “It is a weird thing of trying to bank comedy, because the longer you have an idea the less interested you are in doing it. So part of it is just the exercise — if we had to do something tonight, let’s talk in the morning and see what we can come up with.
“But I do feel like someone with two families who’s trying to keep them secret from one another. It’s very stressful.”