‘Really!?!’: 50 Trivia Tidbits About Seth Meyers on His 50th Birthday
He’s one of the longest-running SNL cast members to date. He’s changed the look of late-night monologues and he’s a comic book nerd just like us. He loves cheese and hates New York traffic lights. It’s Seth Meyers, it’s his 50th birthday and this is a list of facts about his life, what he loves and loathes and his idea for a Stefon movie.
A Three-State Man
Seth Adam Meyers was born in Evanston, Illinois, raised in Okemos, Michigan, from the age of four to ten before moving to Bedford, New Hampshire.
His Funny Brother
Studying at Northwestern
Meyers graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, the town where he was born. “When I first came to school I pretty much had no plans at all,” he told the university’s newspaper. “I was initially a Radio/TV/Film major and thought that I wanted to be behind the camera but then I ended up falling in love with improv. I would go downtown and take classes at ImprovOlympic, and once I got started, I knew it would be silly for me to be behind the camera when I found I loved performing so much.”
Performing with Mee-Ow
Mee-Ow, the improv sketch comedy group at Northwestern, has produced numerous famous folk, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The ‘Burbs writer Dana Olsen and, of course, Meyers. “The guys that did it the years before me were sort of my heroes, and I didn’t think I would get a chance to be in the show, but then I joined and the year I did it was amazing,” he explained to The Daily Northwestern. “Being on stage in front of people — well, it was like a drug. That sort of sold it for me, and I knew it was what I wanted to keep doing.”
His Start at Boom Chicago
Meyers got his first overseas gig performing with an English comedy troupe at the Amsterdam comedy club, Boom Chicago, back in 1997. “I knew not one thing about the Netherlands,” he once said. “My first thought was to get some good hiking shoes, I guess because I thought I was going to Switzerland. And then I showed up in literally the flattest place I ever lived.”
When Meyers auditioned to be part of the Boom Chicago comedy troupe, he was accepted alongside his college roommate and fellow Mee-Ow member Peter Grosz, an Emmy award-winning writer for his work on The Colbert Report. The two of them roomed with Allison Silverman while living in Amsterdam. Silverman has written and won Emmy awards for both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Comedian and Oscar-winning writer Jordan Peele was also part of their crew.
Working with a Dutch Audience
“They don’t give it away for free, the Dutch,” Meyers told The New York Times. “There’s not really a language barrier, but I just think they are discerning. I have a great affection for the audiences I had there, because it was the truest bounce you were ever going to get.”
He’s a Major Comic Book Nerd
“I’m not ready to admit I’m a grown man. I will fully admit I love comic books,” he has told IndieWire. “The biggest movies every year are superhero movies. It’s not like it’s a niche anymore. (However) I still feel like the best way to tell a superhero story is animated — or certainly if you come from comic books, it feels that way.”
One of the Longest Tenured ‘SNL’ Cast Members
Meyers joined the SNL cast in 2001, was promoted to writing supervisor in 2005 and became a head writer in 2006. His final show was in February 2014.
On Being a Cast Member Versus Writing for ‘SNL’
“It gives me something to do rather than stew in my own juices of disappointment,” he explained to Today about getting a sketch rejected as only a cast member. “You can actually still help the show.”
His ‘SNL’ Audition
His Stefon Pitch
“There was a moment in time where the idea of a Stefon script was being discussed,” Meyers told Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers on their podcast. “This was not a scene that was written, but I did have a pitch for myself and Stefon, because I knew it was going to be Stefon and James Franco, or whoever. It wasn’t going to be me and Stefon. I said, ‘Here’s how I think it should start: It should start with Stefon at Weekend Update, and when it’s over, I’m once again disappointed that as the city correspondent he did not bring whatever St. Patrick’s Day tips.’ And he says, ‘To make it up to you, just come out, have a night me and you together, Stefon’s New York.’ And I’m like, ‘All right, one night.’ And then you would do these super fast cuts of he and I at all these crazy clubs. That would be the opening montage, and then it would end with me in a body bag, and Stefon would say, ‘He’s dead!’ Then the splash: Stefon: The Movie.”
Crying During Hader’s Last Show
During the podcast conversation, Meyers also said that John Mulaney ended up writing the final episode featuring Meyers and Stefon, saying that “it was my romantic comedy. It was Bill’s last show. I also know I’m leaving next year to host Late Night. Bill and I are holding hands, and we’re both starting to cry. It was so funny because I was getting married a few months later, and I was like, ‘If I don’t cry at my wedding…'”
The Skit He Fought for at ‘SNL’
Meyers and Amy Poehler’s skit, “Little Sleuths,” was the one Meyers not only fought for during his first year at SNL, but both he and Poehler were kind of shocked when it didn’t become the show’s next big character franchise. “We thought it was going to be this big franchise and were already seeing the Little Sleuths action figures in the NBC Experience Store,” Meyers told Time Out. “It got cut from dress, like, five times and it never aired again. We always said that the one case the Little Sleuths couldn’t solve is what the fuck happened to the Little Sleuths.”
He Lied About Losing His Virginity
Specifically, to the girl he lost it to in college. “I lied to the girl's face — and told her it was not my first time,” he once told Elle. “My first time was way late, but not super late. It was college.”
His BFFs From ‘SNL’
“Before this year, Andy Samberg was definitely my closest friend,” Meyers told MUSE in 2013. “Then the other guy that I have been doing it with the longest is Fred Armisen, so he has been a really good friend for a really long time.”
His Lonely Island Digital Shorts Bracket
In 2012, Meyers made a bracket for the SNL cast to vote for their favorite Lonely Island digital short of all time. “We got pizzas, watched each short and then everybody would vote,” Meyers explained to Vulture. “The thing that made it very SNL was that it became not just a celebration of their best work but also a celebration of their worst work.” It came down to “I’m on a Boat” and “Motherlover,” with the latter winning it all.
The Three Lonely Island Shorts Meyers Wrote or Co-Wrote
They were, in no particular order: “United Way,” “Business Meeting” and “Firelight.”
The T-Shirt Guy
“They have these writer parties at the end of the year, and Seth makes T-shirts for everybody that will have an inside joke or a line from a scene that made everyone laugh but maybe didn’t make it,” his former Weekend Update co-anchor Cecily Strong told The Hollywood Reporter.
A T-Shirt for Meyers
For Meyers’ big SNL farewell, his fellow cast and crew returned the favor. “Taran (Killam) made shirts for all of us that had a picture of Seth making T-shirts and it said, ‘Who will make the T-shirts?,'” Strong added.
His New York Maxim
“There’s no reason, ever, for a pedestrian to stop at a light,” he told Time Out about living in New York, specifically. “You should just keep triangulating to get closer to where you’re going, and any time you are stopped at a stoplight, it’s foolishness.”
He’s a Pretty Decent Poker Player
He won Celebrity Poker Showdown Season Three (and donated all his winnings to the Jimmy Fund charity).
Changing Late-Night Talk Shows
One of Meyers’ most controversial contributions to late-night television was when he decided to sit down during his monologue. “It’s amazing,” he told Vulture. “Who would have thought sitting down would draw so much attention?”
On the Show’s ‘A Closer Look’ Segment
Meyers’ Late Night doubled its YouTube monthly views thanks to “A Closer Look,” and its focus on then-president, Donald Trump.
A ‘Rabid’ Sports Fan
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Meyers counts the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Boston Red Sox and the Northwestern Wildcats among his favorite sports teams. He’s been approached by ESPN for a potential talk show, and has hosted the ESPYs more than once.
Reading a Lot of Jokes
To create Weekend Update, Meyers had to read roughly 800 jokes every single week. “And we cut that down to about 100 that we like, and then Doug, who produces it, cuts it down to about 30,” Meyers explained to NPR. “And, you know, it ends up being around, you know, 18 to 20 jokes come Saturday night.”
He Created Sarah Palin
Meyers wrote Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin, to be more specific.
He’s a Flosser
“I'm a big flosser,” he once told Bon Appetit. “The only thing I love more than flossing is Q-tipping. My girlfriend can’t believe how quickly we run out.”
He’s a Crier
“I’m just going to get this out of the way: I’m a crier,” he admitted in the Elle interview. “When my girlfriend (now his wife) and I talk about being happy, I’ll get choked up, which I think is the greatest gift you can give a girlfriend.”
He’s a ‘Blackberry’ Fan
His ‘SNL’ Debut
Meyers made his SNL debut during the first show following the 9/11 attacks. “That was a crazy time to be starting on the show, and I — the only sketch I was in, I played a fish’s head, a floating fish’s head, which meant I had to wear a green leotard because I was in front of a green screen,” he told NPR. “And my face had to be painted green. So I was in a green leotard with a face painted green wearing a bathrobe standing next to a bunch of police officers and firemen the first time I heard Don Pardo say my name. And I realize that, with everything that was happening in the world, it was the most insignificant part of the night. But it was, for me, incredible.”
His Animated Comedy Series
Meyers took his love for comics and created The Awesomes alongside Mike Shoemaker. The show enjoyed a three-season run on Hulu and starred many SNL folk, including Samberg, Hader, Kenan Thompson and Paula Pell.
The Standing Ovation Episode
The only SNL episode Meyers ever witness get a standing ovation was the 2008 one featuring The Killers as the band and Anne Hathaway as the host. “It is the only time I remember when that show was over, the audience gave a standing ovation, and the Killers performed again,” Meyers remembers.
“My parents were at the show,” Meyers added, “and I introduced my mom to The Killers, and as they walked away, she said very loud, and they heard, ‘Well I don’t know why they call themselves The Killers, they couldn’t be nicer boys.’”
Meyers once claimed that Jerry Seinfeld wanted to take credit for creating the “Really!?!” segment after Meyers asked him if he’d do it on the show because he’d be good at it. Seinfeld responded saying, “Some might say I invented it,” a statement Meyers compared to “someone suggesting LeBron James should try dunking.”
He Has No Interest in Succeeding Lorne Michaels
Amid speculations that Michaels might soon retire as head of SNL, Meyers’ name has been thrown around as his possible successor. “To hear my name in this conversation is another thing that’s so lovely and flattering,” Meyers told Deadline. “You have to remember, I still can’t believe I was on SNL and then I can’t believe that I got to be head writer and I got to host Weekend Update. Of everything I’ve ever had in my (career), I’m proud of nothing more than being head writer. With that said, it is not a job for me. I really think everybody underestimates the idea that Lorne Michaels might just be irreplaceable.”
His Vacation Is Doing His Show
“I hate being off,” he said during an interview with Deadline. “My vacation is doing the show. It is more fun than the beach. It is more fun than skiing. I’m done early enough to see my kids at night so it’s not this thing that takes me away from my family, so there’s no upside to not doing the show. I wish we did more weeks.”
When He Pissed Off Meghan McCain
“Speaking of late-night stuff, I went on Seth Meyers and it was one of the worst experiences of my life, truly,” McCain told Ted Cruz on her podcast, Meghan McCain Has Entered the Chat, about her appearance on Late Night in 2019. “My husband tweeted that the only reason he had a show was that he gargled (Late Night executive producer) Lorne Michaels’ balls. It was a horrific experience, and he can go to hell forever.”
Give Him the Cheese
“I love cheese plates,” he told Bon Appetit. “Though I actually hate cheese plates. Because I can’t say no to them.”
On Doing ‘Late Night’ During the Pandemic
During quarantine, Meyers produced his talk show from the attic in his house. “When I go to the attic now, which serves only as an actual attic and not a TV studio, I do feel a sense of accomplishment and a fair bit of awe that we managed to do a show in those circumstances,” he told CNN after his show returned to the studio.
On Their Food Runs at ‘SNL’ Back in the Day
“Tuesdays are our late, late writing nights,” Meyers explained in the same interview. “Around midnight, the interns start with Starbucks runs. When they go home, we transition to Red Bull. I’m strictly a sugar-free Red Bull guy. I’d rather enjoy my sugar intake elsewhere. Around 3 a.m., someone really cool will magically show up at the table with pizza. At that point, you think it’s exactly what you need. An hour later, you realize it’s exactly what you didn’t need, and you want to go to bed. One of our writers has a connection with a dried-fruit guy. It’s kind of a big deal. In the ’70s, it was the cocaine hook-up; now there’s some dude (who) can get me pure, 100 percent uncut dried pineapple. Sometimes there’s a food launch somewhere in the middle of the night. And by food launch, I mean that earlier in the week I saw an ad for ‘KFC Minis’ on SportsCenter, and decided we should try some. Tracy Morgan used to show up with White Castle, which was mysterious and amazing because none of us thought there was a White Castle in the city. Then, twice a year, everyone goes to Buffalo Wild Wings in Brooklyn, in the middle of the night, and it’s a really big ordeal. I refuse to go because nobody feels good the next day, all their insides are burning — and I happen to think that’s stupid. So now they put my face on the flier.”
On Roasting Donald Trump
“My greatest experience as a New Yorker is being on that guy’s shit list,” Meyers told Time Out about roasting Trump during the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. “Unless I accomplish something better, it’s probably going on my tombstone: ‘Trump called him a third-rate comedian.’ The other great thing is that he keeps bringing people’s attention to it by talking about it.”
On Being Fair
“We try very hard to be fair,” he once told Vulture about “A Closer Look.” “Some people believe fair is you have to make an equal amount of jokes about both sides. That’s not our take on fair. Our take on fair is to say things that are true and that we can back up with facts.”
On Watching the First ‘SNL’ Show After He Left
“The first one was incredibly weird,” he said in another interview with Vulture. “Especially, it was really weird to rediscover something that I had known as a teenager, which is, there are so many commercials. I was both having this emotional breakdown of not knowing what the next sketch would be and not knowing who wrote it and how it came together, but also a real budding frustration with how many commercials there are.”
On His Hosting Role Model
“I really loved Steve Martin as a host,” he added. “I love the way he tells jokes. I feel he’s very joke-based, whereas I’m jealous of people who can be both host and showman. Which I am not. No one is ever going to mistake me for a showman. But the good news is I don’t mistake myself for one.”
On Which Guest Host Blew Him Away
Let's just say that he could now be considered a Swiftie. “It really speaks to what a force of nature (Taylor Swift) is and the depths of her talent,” Meyers told Howard Stern. “Here’s a 19-year-old who nobody is really helping out; nobody gave her a manual of how to do that show. And yet, she came to us and said, ‘I wrote a song for the opening monologue.’ So we brought Taylor into Lorne’s office, and she sings this song which is not only a beautiful song by a beautiful singer, it's a perfect SNL monologue. Fully formed.”
“To this day, I’ve never had a moment like that where someone brings you a fully gift-wrapped present and it’s exactly what you need it to be,” he continued. “When she finished I should’ve said, ‘Now Taylor, just for you, I want to look at you and read what we had written for you just so you know how much fucking worse it was. Not only is your song great, but you cannot even begin to imagine how shitty what we were doing for you is compared to how great what you did for yourself is.’”
Writing ‘Jon Hamm’s John Ham’
“I think why ‘Jon Hamm’s John Ham’ worked was because he was so serious,” Meyers told Vulture about penning the pun sketch for SNL. “If it had been a joke about Jon Hamm that he was not a part of, it would’ve been a dumb pun. I think the fact that you can get him involved and in his best Draper-y delivery.”
On the ‘Jon Hamm’s Ham’ Sketch That Got Cut
“We also did the Ham and Buble, and a third one that got cut, which was ‘Jon Hamm’s Ham Radio for Johns,’” Meyers added. “And it was a way for people to communicate with prostitutes.”
The Comic That Made Him Love Comedy
He Has a Podcast With His Brother
It’s called Family Trips with the Meyers Brothers and was launched earlier this year.
His Drunkest ‘Day Drinking’ Segment
That honor goes to Rihanna. Meyers told James Corden on his former talk show that they had to “edit out some of the drinking just for time, so whatever you see, it’s like 40 percent more than that. I went home, immediately fell asleep in the hallway of my apartment. Got in the door, fell asleep. My wife — passive-aggressively, James — put a water next to my head and went to bed.”