Scott D. Pierce: Weekend Update sort of moving to ‘Late Night’

First Published      Last Updated Feb 24 2014 08:13 pm

No one anchored the Weekend Update segments of "Saturday Night Live" as long as Seth Meyers did — a total of almost eight full seasons. And you can expect Meyers to do more of the same when he takes over as host of "Late Night" on Monday (11:35 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5).

Well, sort of.

"I don't think we'll try to do a version of Weekend Update, but I think there will probably be elements of our show that steal a little from it," Meyers said, adding, "I don't know if 'steal' is the right word."

"It will be reminiscent of it," interjected "Late Night" executive producer Mike Shoemaker, who is also a veteran of "SNL."

No, Meyers won't be sitting behind an anchor desk reading faux news stories. But he will be loading up his opening monologue with jokes based on whatever happens to be in the news on any particular day.

"I'm drawn to the idea of making jokes about current events," Meyers said. "I brought Alex Baze with me. He's the head writer of Weekend Update, and he's going to be the head writer of the new show."

And Meyers is excited that "Late Night" will offer him the chance to do more of this kind of comedy than ever before.

"One of the things that's trickiest about Weekend Update is, often, we write really good jokes [on] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday that, by Saturday, go stale. Or someone else tells a version of it," Meyers said. "So we are very excited to get out there every night and do jokes about the news — topical jokes."

There are certainly similarities between anchoring Weekend Update and doing an opening monologue on "Late Night." But they're not the same thing. And Meyers said he's working hard on mastering the art of monologuing.

"We want to have a really strong monologue," he said.

But is anyone really worried about Meyers' ability to deliver jokes? We watched him on "Saturday Night Live" for 13 years. We know he can write great jokes — he was the head writer on that show from 2006-14 — and we've seen him deftly deliver those jokes.

But there's more to hosting a late-night show than the monologue. Can he do an interview?

A talk show does, after all, feature guests. Meyers will have to talk to them. And he readily admits that, other than a few practice shows, he doesn't much experience with that.

"That's the one part of it that you have to learn by doing more than anything else," he said. "I do feel like ever since I've gotten this job, I've tried a lot harder to listen to people better."

Including his own parents.

"I feel like I listen to them so much more now," Meyers said. "I'm, like, 'That's fascinating, Mom. And then what happened?' "

We'll see how he does with that on Monday night.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.