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Late Night With Seth Meyers Taping At Studio 8G, Friday, March 21st, 2014 Reviewed

Late Night's new milquetoast

Late Night’s new milquetoast

One month into his new career as a Late Night talk show host, folks tell me Seth Meyers is further along than either Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon were this early in their career and that’s as may be. But the former three were at least finding their feet and not denying their gifts and the kinder, gentler Seth Meyers, a sort of milquetoast version of the “Weekend Update” smirker, is changing his personality and so far, it isn’t really working.

Invited as a VIP through my advertising job to a taping of NBC’s “Late Night”, the new Late Night studio is threadbare but not freezing and while the lack of a balcony means the cameras get in just about every single person’s way at one time or another, the actual studio has that fresh car feel.

On Friday night, warm up act Ryan Reiss, was funny and charming and had a much better rapport with the audience than Seth managed to. The AG Band, lead by Fred Armisen, performed a steady as she goes “Dancing With Myself”, though their vamping during what would have been the commercials was a little on the lame side.

Seth doesn’t play off Fred at all well, and Seth uses the fifth man, the audience, very very poorly. During a frankly bizarre “Celebrity Spelling Bee”, whose main joke, they give two audience members difficult celebrity names and the third easy names, doesn’t remotely work, he fails to connect with a single one of the three. We in the audience might as well have been at home for all of Seth’s attention.

There are some ideas that seem ready to flower over time, The New Yorker editor David Remnick offered insights into Russian President Putin last week and followed it with a genuinely witty New Yorker cartoons comes to live. Friday night we got Sports Illustrated, who has written a biography about Pete Rose, that was OK, as well as John Leguizamo’s spot on impression of Al Pacino though Zosia Mamet was both bland and a little embarrassing. None of the interviews really went any way and in the end you couldn’t help noting that, not even Johnny Cash but Jimmy Kimmel could have saved them.

Certainly, Meyers, who has his own real personality, can’t project it at this stage.

As for the lack of a musical guest? This is their big change? Two musical guests a week? That’s why they got indie cred Portlandia up the ying yang Fred? So not to put Fucked Up on stage?

It is very early at this stage and still it isn’t very good at all yet. Let Meyers be Meyers, I say. f we wanted Jimmy Fallon lite we’d have asked for it.

Grade: C

 

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