Because of the election of November 2016, I discovered NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers. I sort of knew who Meyers was. I knew that he had been on Saturday Night Live, but I hadn’t seen anything from that show, except for occasional clips, since 1977. Now, I am a regular viewer again.
I was impressed by Meyers take on the American Political scene, finding him smooth, smart, sly, insightful, and very, very funny. His ”A Closer Look” segment is better than any news outlet for a quick rundown of current events. He takes jabs at all the players, but he really sticks it to You-Know-Who. It has become Meyers’ signature segment. It remains a meticulous, searing dissection of the day’s top stories.
Late Night With Seth Meyers is not so much like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee or Real Time With Bill Maher, both of which I find very funny and informative; Meyers’ show still has a traditional talk show format; he has guests that sit in a chair beside his desk, and he is good at interviewing, generous and rather sweet with his guests, without gushing like Jimmy Fallon. This show always has just the right dash of cynicism while remaining bright and humorous, as if the Jon Stewart era The Daily Show had married the 1970s The Dick Cavett Show and had a baby. It is sophisticated and smart, while unafraid to get silly.
When Meyers signed-off for his winter hiatus last year, he jokingly addressed the camera with:
”We will be back on January 9, and we will be canceled on January 20.”
Meyers was joking, but he wasn’t kidding. This entire mess we find ourselves in now probably began when Meyers hosted the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where Donald J. Trump was the butt of jokes by Barack Obama and Meyers.
Trump was so humiliated by the experience that it seemed to have triggered a deep, dark previously hidden hunger for revenge. That evening of public degradation, instead of sending the Orange Blob away for good, only accelerated his ferocious desire to take over the country.
On the night of November 9, 2016, just 12 hours after the world was shocked by the realization of who had become the next POTUS, Meyers delivered a poignant monologue to his audience, sharing an anecdote about informing his then 8-month-old son that:
”For the first time in our history, our president would be a failed steak salesman…”
But then, he took a more somber tone, and in tears said:
”As a white man, I also know that any emotions I’m feeling are likely a fraction of those being felt by the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, and any number of the immigrant communities so vital to our country, so hopefully the Trump administration and Trump supporters will be compassionate to them, because they need your compassion. And in general, I am hopeful for Trump because hope is always the best possible path to take, and one thing that makes me hopeful is we know from interviews he’s given over the years that he has, at any given point, held every position on every issue: He’s been pro-choice, pro-life, for the Iraq War, against the Iraq War. Pretty much his only consistent position has been: Anti-Rosie O’Donnell. So, I’m hopeful that he’s not actually a racist, and that he just used racist rhetoric to court voters, because when you’re courting someone, you’re always willing to pretend you’re something you’re not.”