From his writing and “Weekend Update” gigs on SNL to his current nonstop onslaught against the president on NBC’s Late Night, Seth Meyers has evolved into a performer who puts political parody center stage. But when he gets back to stand-up comedy, the boyish 45-year-old takes advantage of the varying opportunities to poke fun at his own experiences. And when he’s performing in Las Vegas—as he will this weekend at Wynn—it’s a chance to engage with a diverse audience.
“I’ve always had good shows in Las Vegas, but I do think it’s true that when you go to most other cities, you feel like you’re performing for people from there, and in Vegas it’s for people from everywhere, so it takes a little bit longer to clock what kind of audience you have on any given night,” Meyers says. “But that makes it exciting, not just for comedians but all different kinds of performers. There’s always electricity in the room there.”
You just passed the five-year mark doing Late Night. Does working on that show have a different impact or influence on your stand-up than Saturday Night Live did?I think in both cases, stand-up is a way to talk about things that don’t really fit on SNL or Late Night, so it’s always been a good outlet to use to talk about family or more personal experiences or anything that feels out of place on network television. It hasn’t changed my experience, but doing Late Night did slow down the stand-up, because on SNL, you have the summers off. But after five years, I’m starting to find the freedom to go out a little more.
I think people identify you more now for political comedy. Is that something you intended to do on Late Night, or is it a byproduct ofthe Trump era? In the first 18 months of our show, we were trying to figure out who we are and what we wanted to do. Then the election started, and that’s an 18-month journey as well these days. Our show developed into something that was reacting to politics. I think it all felt a little sped-up because of having someone like Trump in the mix, and we were honest about the fact that we thought he would be a short-time participant in the proceedings, and we were obviously proven very wrong. But in the chase of covering all the madness in the months leading up, the show became better at reacting to things quickly. Because he’s the president, we still have a lot to react to every day.
How do you feel about the sentiment that we shouldn’t depend on comedians for news and analysis? I also don’t think people should get their news from comedians. I do think we’re not a bad second place to stop after you get the news. We try to provide some catharsis for people by laying it out honestly. Our whole purpose is to give it to you with as many jokes as possible, but I would think as a first source, you could do a lot better than getting your news from us.
But you could also do a lot worse. (Laughs.) That’s true. You know what? I’ll take that.
SETH MEYERS May 4, 7:30 p.m., $63-$109. Encore Theater, 702-770-9966.