Move over Leo’s, there’s a new Late Night in town! Fans of comedy talk shows got a treat this month when Late Night with Seth Meyers taped in DC from October 10-13. Those lucky enough to win the free ticket lottery packed Warner Theater to watch either the show’s monologue rehearsal or the full taping of the show. Fans who attended the monologue rehearsal were part of a smaller audience that helped the Late Night crew choose which jokes to pick for the monologue based on audience reaction. On the other hand, those who went to the taping were able to see the entirety of the show and participated in a question and answer session with Seth himself.
The show featured a variety of fresh faces. Guests ranged from politicians such as Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to comedians (and Georgetown alums) Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Musical guests included country music star Sturgill Simpson. Sitting with the 8G Band were drummer Thaddeus Dixon, singer and guitarist Corey Glover, and guitarist and bandleader Vernon Reid. Fred Armisen, Meyers’ former SNL castmate and the usual 8G bandleader, could not make it to DC because he was filming season 7 of Portlandia.
This trip marked Meyers’ first hosting gig in DC since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. It was also the first time the show has traveled to another city since Meyers has taken over. Other late night hosts have had a tradition of taking their shows across the country. For example, Jimmy Kimmel taped in Brooklyn for a week while Jimmy Fallon brought The Tonight Show to both LA and Orlando.
Meyers and his crew certainly took advantage of their time in the nation’s capital. Wednesday’s taping featured a DC version of the segment “Seth Explains Teen Slang” as a digital exclusive. Definitions included “elephant in the room” (the lone conservative at a party), “CNN” (the friend who starts a countdown for every event), and “Trump Loom” (standing ominously behind your partner as they dance). In another segment, Meyers spent the day at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The skit featured the two prank calling the president on Carter’s direct line as well as an attempt by Meyers to visit all 284 bathrooms of the building.
The location also seemed especially fitting given the coverage on this year’s tumultuous election season. Late Night struggled in its early seasons under Meyers as he tried to strike a balance between traditional late night talk shows and the fake-news style of delivery that made him famous on Saturday Night Live. Yet Meyers has certainly found where he excels. For example, in a segment called “A Closer Look,” Meyers examined Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. Meyers’ delivery certainly reminded viewers of his time at Weekend Update.
The show was not afraid to tackle more serious issues regarding the election. Wednesday’s guest, Vice President Joe Biden, spoke on the controversial tape where Donald Trump appeared to brag about committing sexual assault. Biden, who wrote the Violence Against Women Act, referred to Trump’s comments as “the textbook definition of sexual assault.” He added, “My dad used to say that the greatest sin of all was the abuse of power and the cardinal sin of all is a man raising his hand or taking advantage of a woman.”
Audience members were able to ask questions during a brief question and answer session after the taping. Meyers’ responses provided insight into the world of late night television as well as his time on Saturday Night Live. An audience member asked Meyers to name the funniest person he ever worked with. While Meyers claimed he could not narrow down the answer to one person, he did confess that the one person that could make him laugh that he never expected to was Andy Samberg. Another asked where Meyers will hide if Trump was elected. In response, Meyers claimed that he would not leave the country if Trump won the election because a Trump presidency would be “the golden age of comedy.”
The question on most people’s minds, however, was whether or not the show would ever return to DC. When asked by an audience member, Meyers acknowledged that DC had been a better fit for the show than he had initially thought. Judging by the throngs of fans who lined the block, DC residents appreciated Meyers as well. Late Night’s home will most likely remain in New York, but it appears that the show has found a place to stay in DC.