Just two weeks after taking over from Jimmy Fallon as host of NBC’s “Late Night,” Seth Meyers dropped by SXSW to talk about his new role with panel moderator Olivia Munn, on a Saturday off from the show.
Following a “self-aggrandizing” (per Meyers’) clip reel, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and “Weekend Update” co-host tore into answering a wildly varied number of questions posed by a wisecracking Munn (who at one point advised an aspiring writer in the room that “it’s never too late to sleep with studio executives”) and select members of the audience. Below are the highlights:
The one word that Meyers would use to describe “Late Night.”
“Fun. We’re trying to have fun. If we’re asking people to stay up late, they have to have fun. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they go to bed?”
What “SNL” didn’t get Meyers ready for…
The art of the interview. “‘SNL’ got me ready for a lot of parts, but interviewing is new to me. It’s both a conversation and not a conversation. You just talk and listen like anybody else. To be honest, the strangest part is how fast is goes. If you talk to someone and enjoy it, it surprises you.”
Meyers can finally tell all the jokes he likes.
“With a show like this, the more you know about what’s going on in the world, the better you’ll do. We’re trying to be as topical as possible. At least now we get to tell all the jokes we like — on ‘Weekend Update,’ other people could run with jokes before Saturday came.”
Meyers runs on a Blackberry.
“I have a Blackberry, so nothing works in my life. I can sometimes find my contacts; that’s one of the features I like about the Blackberry.”
Biggest pet peeve?
“I think when you’re taking a selfie, the person with the longer arm has to take it. That’s my big pet peeve.”
What Meyers thinks a dream tastes like.
“Reality with whipped cream.”
Stefon will show up on “Late Night” one day.
“On the desk I have a Stefon nesting doll. So Stefon is on the show every night — that makes me very happy. As a married couple, he likes my new hours and someday we will start a family. At some point he will show up on the show.”
It was never Meyers’ dream to do “Late Night.”
“‘SNL’ was my dream, then once I got on ‘SNL,’ ‘Update’ was my dream. When this came up, it did seem it would exercise the same muscles. I was never a guy who interviewed his stuffed animals when I was kid. But I’m doing that now.”
Why Meyers rarely performed sketches on “SNL.”
“I don’t like being in sketches. I always look like me with a wig. Some people are just transformative. I look like a guy who found a wig. Every time I was in a sketch, I felt that people were going, ‘Who do you think you’re fooling?'”
Meyers still fails.
“I’m very happy to say that my last sketch at ‘SNL’ that I wrote for Melissa McCarthy played to silence. It was a good reminder that this is not a thing you just figure out. Perfection is a crazy idea.”
Meyers has no plans for the future.
“I just started! With ‘SNL’ I had no exit strategy. I’m perfectly happy with falling into routine. I can’t imagine this as a job that gets boring, which is my biggest fear.”
Meyers goes to Twitter to find new writers.
“Twitter has completely democratized the way we find writers. You read their last six months last of Tweets and you can tell immediately if they have a great sense of humor.”
Meyers likes sandwiches… a lot.
“I make all food into sandwiches. That means if I had steak and a baked potato, I’d hollow out the potato and put the steak in it. I like putting things in holes.”