Seth Meyers: interview outtakes

Photograph: Mary Ellen Matthews; Photo illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay

In advance of his Just for Laughs show this weekend, Seth Meyers provided glimpses into the inner workings of Saturday Night Live—a couple of moments that don’t appear in my recent interview:

Over your ten years at SNL, what sketches do you recall with the greatest sense of pride?

Those are such dangerous words for comedians to use. I was really happy with the 2008 election ’cause that felt like such an important election. I played John Kerry in the 2004 election on the show, and if the 2008 election on SNL felt like the heat was on, 2004 felt like the heat getting turned off. [Laughs] It was just a less interesting election in general, I think, because you both had Bush exhaustion and John Kerry wasn’t exactly a comedy gold mine. But with 2008 there were just all these great characters, and obviously we’re forever in debt to Tina [Fey] for coming back and helping out. Expectations were really high and it’s never great in comedy when people are going, “Oh, my God, I can’t wait to see what you guys are gonna do! It’s gonna be hilarious!” And you’re like, Oh, no. And I feel like to a large part we actually managed to come through on people’s expectations.

Given the famously fast-paced SNL schedule, can you think of an 11th-hour moment when you guys still really needed an idea?

Not to keep bringing it back to the 2008 election, but the second time we did Sarah Palin, [there] was already the pressure of needing to be as good as the first time. We did it a first time in the first show and then it was two shows later, so it was our third show that season, and we were writing a Sarah Palin in one, which is just her talking to the camera. And Tina came in and she sort of was just saying, “Have you seen this Katie Couric interview?” I think that Katie Couric interview was airing in pieces online, it was coming out slow, and it was just that weird gamble of, like: Have enough people seen this? We wrote that really late.


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