Going where Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno and countless other TV monologists couldn’t or wouldn’t — to his desk — Seth Meyers tells Deadline he’s abandoned the stand-up position that’s been a staple of late-night TV since Steve Allen hit his mark in 1954. “That seems to be the plan for now,” Meyers, host of NBC’s Late Night, said Tuesday, the day after delivering his first Late Night monologue from behind his desk.
“We always planned to use the last two weeks of the summer to try out new things,” Meyers said, “and last night felt good so we’ll stick with it.”
Meyers, who took over Late Night last November after a nine-year run as either anchor or coanchor of Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” segment, said he was “a little anxious” going into the new format but felt immediately at ease once he took his seat. “It’s not really breaking new ground for me personally,” he said while acknowledging the format’s ancient stand-up tradition, “so that made the transition easier.”
Though the desk move was unannounced to the public, Meyers said the studio audience was warned beforehand that something different was about to take place. “The idea was to try it for a couple weeks, and if it was a disaster we’d go back” to the old routine. “We didn’t think it was definitely permanent,” he said, “so we didn’t want to make a big announcement.”
Meyers said he’s confident the new format will last, in part because the faux-newscast approach “gives the writing staff another element to hang the comedy on.” Meyers delivered Monday’s best joke as a Twitter photo of full-cleavaged Kim Kardsashian appeared onscreen, the host quipping, “Most people only follow her for the articles.”