Opinion by Stephanie Kocer
I’m guessing that’s why NBC picked him to be Jay Leno’s successor on “The Tonight Show.” A performer as versatile and humble as Fallon should have his own show.
A lot of debate occurred when NBC also announced that long-time head writer of “Saturday Night Live,” Seth Meyers, would be given Fallon’s old spot on “Late Night.” Fallon up against an audience on his own makes sense. A guy who has been with the same TV show for over a decade that has never been out on his own didn’t, at first.
But I, like so many others, had faith in Meyers. Fallon is likable, because he never seems to have an ulterior motive. Letterman is an old man who often doesn’t hide his opinions. Fallon never tries to force his views on us.
Fallon understands that a late night comedy show like “Tonight” should be fun. In his first show at the new timeslot, he mentioned that he wanted to entertain people after a long day of work before they went off to bed, and that is exactly what he does. He’s in it for America, not for himself.
With that same idea, Meyers has taken on “Late Night” with optimism. I think he knew coming into the show was not going to be easy, especially with every TV critic breathing down his neck.
Meyers knows he can’t be Fallon. The pure late night magic that Fallon has created cannot be duplicated. Fallon has sketches, mixed with games and fun segments like “Hashtags” and “Thank You Notes.” He’s got celebrities lining up at 30 Rock to make a guest appearance on one of his sketches. He’s even gotten the president to “slow jam” the news with him. Fallon’s flow is unstoppable at this point.
Meyers doesn’t have any of that. But that’s because he hasn’t had the time to build his late night empire like Fallon has. He’s trying out a lot of different segments and bits, some hits and some misses.
One of the biggest problems I have with “Late Night with Seth Meyers” so far is Fred Armisen. The SNL alum was brought on to lead Meyers’ band. Although he’s a good bandleader, I hate when he and Meyers do bits together at the start of the show. This is mainly because I don’t think Armisen is funny. There’s just something about him I don’t like.
Armisen’s overall presence sometimes seems to distract from the fact that the show belongs to Meyers, who, in my opinion, is a far better comedian. Many have complained that Meyers’ monologues are structured too much like SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment, but I like it that way. If you’ve ever heard Meyers’ standup, you know that is just the way he tells jokes. It seems to work for him.
Meyers has tried to follow in Fallon’s unique footsteps by displaying the talent of the writing staff on almost every show. Those people that you see doing bits in the audience or giving Meyers a hard time? Yeah, those people are his writers. Giving writers a voice and a chance to be a part of the show is something Fallon has done a lot in the past, and something that Lorne Michaels encourages.
NBC also knows that Meyers is going to need some time to adjust. Fallon already has his show down to a science, but Meyers needs time, and they are going to let him have that time.
My hope is that Meyers’ show becomes less awkward, and he and Armisen find their beat. Meyers is well liked and has the potential of having a long run. He just needs to figure out what he’s doing first.
Kocer is a junior magazines and English double major and can be reached at email@example.com