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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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Seth Meyer’s ‘Late Night’ debut earns a solid B

Seth Meyers’ debut as host of "Late Night" on Monday was sort of surprising.

The opening monologue, which was expected to be his strength, was the weakest part of the show. The interviews, on the other hand, were the strongest part.

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As expected, Meyers’ monologue was pretty much a Weekend Update -- which he had long anchored on "Saturday Night Live" - delivered standing up. And not a particularly good Weekend Update. Most of the joke fell flat, and Meyers’ didn’t seem to realize how poorly it was going because of the hooting and hollering from the hyped-up studio audience.

The lesson here is - a monologue isn’t Weekend Update.

And the grade on Fred Armisen as bandleader is incomplete. The interplay between him and Meyers seemed rather forced.

The show got better after that, however. Meyers’ told a story about his wife, a flat tire and their dog that was charming, funny and humanizing. A comedy bit that featured venn diagrams was amusing, if not hilarious.

And the interviews with Amy Poehler and Vice President Joe Biden went very well.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine interviews that Poehler and Biden that don’t go well. And we’ll see how Meyers does when his guests aren’t so good at being guests.

Overall, his debut on "Late Night" (weeknights, 11:35 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) rated a solid B. And when you compare it to the debuts of Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, he’s at the head of the class.

The most important thing is that Meyers is a likable guy. And if people like you, that’s 75 percent of the late-night battle right there.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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