A Day In the Life of Late Night with Seth Meyers (PHOTOS)
You see the end result every weeknight at 12:35, when Late Night airs: Seth Meyers sitting at his desk doing his monologue and talking to guests like Wendy Williams (above). But a long day's worth of work goes into getting to that point, with lots of writing, meetings, and time for Seth to do his homework. Scroll through the gallery to see how Meyers and the staff of Late Night puts everything together.
The day starts with work on the show’s first act, which is usually about politics or current events. “I come in to a first draft from one of our writers; then I start doing a pass on it,” says Meyers (with writer Amber Ruffin).
Next up is a sketch meeting with the team to plan non-political segments and longer-lead bits like the popular “Extreme Dog Shaming” and “Special Thanks” which allows time to “give the staff some notes.”
Meyers and Shoemaker (to his right) meet with the Late Night
department heads for a production meeting where graphics, costuming and pretaping schedules for the day’s show and upcoming segments are discussed.
After Meyers reads over “about 100 to 130 jokes” with Shoemaker and a smaller group of writers, he holes up in his memorabilia-laden office to hone the opening monologue and brush up on the night’s guests.
Everyone moves down to Late Night
’s studio for a test run with “an audience of people that the PAs basically round up outside of 30 Rock,” laughs Meyers, adding that this gives him a good read on which jokes are working.
“If we changed a lot in the early meeting, then we’ll test it with the crowd,” says Shoemaker (foreground), who joins writers Bryan Donaldson, Jenny Hagel and Sal Gentile on set after the rehearsal to make cuts and fine-tune transitions.
Post-rehearsal, Meyers heads back down the hall to start getting ready for the real thing. “I go back to my office, and then it’s basically shower, change and run cue cards.”
In his dressing room, Meyers rereads his guests’ bios for topics they haven’t been asked about over and over. “If you ask them a question where they see you’ve done your homework, then they open up more," he says.
Writer Gentile and Meyers discuss any last-minute items they might want to add based on the day’s events. “At least three or four things happen [in the news] between the first round of jokes to the taping,” Meyers says.
6:15pm While the 8G Band warms up, Meyers greets guest Wendy Williams but skips any pre-chat, to keep the energy loose. “In the first minute or two of the interview, I try to learn what kind of guest they are and then adjust.”
Meyers goes out front before cameras start rolling to meet his audience, ask where everyone is from and share tidbits about the history of Studio 8G. (Fun fact: The original Jeopardy!
Showtime! As announcer Ron Mark McClary (off camera) reads off the night’s guest list, Meyers hits the stage. “Having a great show once every two weeks was nice early on,” he recalls. “I feel now we are consistent with quality.”
Late Night with Seth Meyers, Weeknights, 12:35/11:35c, NBC.