Count Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers among the world's thinking-man's comedians.
He's sophisticated enough to spoof the world's leaders, pop culture's attention whores, and riff about the details of the sports world, all in one breath. Meyers has proved himself a judicious heckler on not only SNL, but also at gigs such as unofficial roastmaster at the White House Correspondents dinner and the ESPY awards, making a side career of calling B.S. on B.S.ers.
Here in Berkeley you'll be doing standup, so I'm curious about your past experience. Have you had much time to do standup with all of your other gigs?
This last year I've been on the road during off weeks. I love it. I've been doing it a lot for the last five or six years.
Are you the type of person that says a joke in a group then tweets it, or do you take the material directly to the people?
I usually take it directly to the people. I did get grief on one where I said it out loud to everyone and then tweeted, and people were like "are you workshopping your friends?"
Are you finding Twitter to be your go-to source for news or are you a New York Times person, or something else?
I follow the New York Times on Twitter. I follow a lot of news sources and reporters, so if a things turning up 8-9 times an hour you know its a story story.
Have you guys thought about incorporating social media during SNL?
When you have a show with a host, it's a lot easier I think. Jimmy Fallon's doing it best right now. But we're running through sketches by the second so it'd be pretty tough. Maybe we just haven't figured it out.
As a head writer for SNL, do you find yourself in a position where you have to inspire and challenge and motivate?
You sometimes gently point out when things can be a bit better, but historically the show has been better when the writers generate their own material. So right now we have the right people to do that.
Who on the show has been a mentor to you?
Tina Fey was the last head writer before me and I learned a lot from her and a few others. Andrew Steele and another guy, Jim Downey, who's been with the show since the second year, have really helped me. The trick here is you have to have a specific voice, so once you figure that out you're good.
I was think it would be cool if comedians started trying out for Sportscenter to bring back the humor of Dan Patrick and Olberman.
I think ESPN is a network that has a strong sense of what people want, maybe that's what people want more. When people say there should be a Daily Show for Sports, I say ESPN already is that, it's already irreverent and cheeky. I thought Onion Sports was great, but the problem they had was having a longer lead time, and people want their news now.
Was it ever a dream of yours to be a sports anchor?
I did one radio broadcast for the Northwestern sports radio, but I just had the worst voice. I also find sports as a nice thing to visit, not necessarily something to spend all my time on.
It seems like your White House Correspondents Dinner gigs have been going extremely well. Have you thought about getting tenure doing it?
I don't know if I would like tenure for that, I did two ESPYs in a row and hardest thing is to follow yourself.
From a comedy writers point of view, Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
Newt, but as a human being, it was never gonna be Newt, it was never gonna be anyone but Romney.
From that same perspective, who were you most dismayed to see drop out of the race?
Perry was the best, he was the guy even if you knew nothing about him, he looked the part and had the pedigree, and it wasn't too long ago that a governor from Texas had taken the job, he was most tragic in Greek sense, to see him fall out of favor. The guy who was CEO of a pizza chain, that was just funny from the start. Cain or Bachmann, they just sort of seemed too easy.
Do you think much about where you'll end up post-SNL?
I think a little bit about it, but this is not a career where you pick and choose much. And SNL is a show that if you focus anything less than 100 percent on it it tends to fall apart.
Seth Meyers takes the stage at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Zellerbach Hall on UC Berkeley campus (at Bancroft and Dana St). Tickets start at $25, purchase here.