Seth Meyers is going to be busy when his summer ends. But this weekend? Just the debut of a new animated series and a stand-up date at The Mirage.
The comedian, best known as the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live,” had settled comfortably into the casino’s “Aces of Comedy” rotation; Saturday marks his third visit this year.
Then came the news Meyers will be the new host of NBC’s “Late Night” once Jimmy Fallon takes over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno (who is also in the Mirage comedy rotation).
So now comes “this weird waiting period,” he says, one that by coincidence includes the debut of “The Awesomes,” an animated superhero comedy that launched Thursday on Hulu.
“It’s a bit of a waiting game now, but it’s been a kind of peaceful time to think about what the (late-night) show can be,” Meyers says.
How much Las Vegas will see of him down the road remains to be seen.
“The one thing I’m getting back from this new job is Saturdays, which is no small thing,” he says. “The other big news is I’m also engaged to be married,” he adds of tying the knot with lawyer Alexi Ashe.
“With my weeks off, I do think I’d like to do stand-up a little, but I’d also like to try to manage having as much of a normal life as I can,” he says. “We’ll see what happens. ... Maybe getting out to Vegas won’t be as hard as I think.”
Meyers says he “never had my eye on the prize of late-night.” His “SNL” work as head writer “requires so much of your focus to execute well at that show, that I never was somebody who was thinking a move ahead.”
But as the latest round of late-night musical chairs played out, “to some degree I was in the right place at the right time. It certainly didn’t hurt to have Lorne Michaels (producer of both ‘SNL’ and ‘Late Night’) on my side.”
Overall, the announcement was greeted as logical, perhaps even expected. Maybe it’s because Fallon already carved the trail from “Weekend Update.” Or perhaps we’re just used to seeing Meyers suited up behind a desk for the mock news segment.
That won’t change.
“I don’t think we want to deconstruct the format at all. There will be a desk, there will be a tie, there will be all the things that tell you it’s a late-night show,” he says. “I think you have to start from there and build out, as opposed to blowing it up.”
Meyers, 39, says he didn’t grow up dreaming of being Johnny Carson. But he did realize from his earliest sketch comedy days, “my strength lies in being myself. That’s always where I’ve had the most success.”
Even doing sketch comedy in his early 20s, “We used to joke about how limited my range was.”
Fallon’s impressions and duets with music stars pushed “Late Night’s” popularity into the realm of viral videos. But Meyers says he and his staff will have to find their own way.
“I think what Jimmy did, and what every host that’s good at this does, is you build the show around your strengths,” he says. “The one thing you don’t want to get caught doing is trying to imitate people who spent a long time figuring out what their strengths are.”
Even though Meyers realized his calling wasn’t in character acting, it didn’t stop him from co-creating “The Awesomes” with Michael Shoemaker, and voicing one of the characters alongside some “SNL” castmates.
“It was a love of comic books that led us to write this,” he says. “We wanted it to be sort of serialized,” which made it a good fit for Hulu’s web platform.
“We’re not spoofing superheroes, we’re telling a superhero story, hopefully a little bit more comically than people are used to,” he says. “It wasn’t a taking apart of something, but more a putting together of a thing we were fans of back in the day.”
Meyers will be back on “SNL” at least for the fall half of the season, and he’s happy to have a proper chance to say goodbye.
“This (‘Late Night’) thing broke so late that there was no way I was emotionally ready to have my last show,” he says. “I’m not going to have a better exit than the moment of marrying Stefan” — fighting with Anderson Cooper for Bill Hader’s best-known character in Hader’s final show — “but I’ve come to terms with that.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.