The Herald: A lot of your work involves political humor. Do you think that humor has the power to influence politics or sway voters?
Seth Meyers: You know, I think in certain cases, it does. I mean, when we write it, you have to write it for it to be funny. You can’t aim to affect the outcome of elections because I feel like that makes comedy too self-serious. So it’s like, be funny first, but then if the message you’re being funny about rings true with people, I do think it sticks in their head when they go to the polls.
Along those lines, is there anything you’re really hoping happens this election season in terms of comedic potential?
Well, I am a little worried about a Romney-Obama face-off. You know, I think it’s very hard to find things that are really funny about (President) Obama, and I think you know Mitt Romney. When someone’s stiff — having played John Kerry in 2004 — it’s very hard to exaggerate stiffness or gravitas or woodenness. So it could be tricky. I’m hoping that Romney picks a really juicy (vice president) because that certainly worked in ’08.
Any potential names in mind?
I mean, (New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie would be fun. You know, I think living in New York, a guy from Jersey is a good time.
On a “Weekend Update” episode,” you claimed a poll that showed an increase in Obama’s approval ratings was taken at a Brown University drum circle. Do you remember where this came from? Was this your way of confessing your love and admiration for Brown?
Uh, look I have nothing but love and admiration for Brown, but I do think it’s funny that, you know, obviously we try to write jokes that people respond to and … we do consider a drum circle at Brown probably the most liberal place on Earth.
I’ve heard that you go around doing performances like this at other colleges — have you ever spoken at a school that’s not quite as liberal as Brown? What has the response been like there?
Yeah, you know it’s funny, certainly when you go down and do Southern schools you realize it’s less loudly liberal. I’ve done shows where I’ve mentioned (presidential hopeful) Ron Paul, and I think a lot of college students relate to Ron Paul — you know maybe not at Brown, but you do realize he connects with them in a certain way. But you do realize even in the Deep South, college campuses are probably the most liberal places of those states. So even when a state is 80 percent red, 20 percent of that state is a lot of people, and they tend to find their way to your shows.
Do you tailor your shows at all?
I have enough of an act that there’s certain times where I’m like, “Oh, this is not going to be for them.”
So switching gears a little bit — if you could cast any three people, dead or alive, in a sketch, who would you cast, and what would the sketch be about?
The sketch about, that’s too hard. But I will say if I was doing any sketch with the benefit of dead or alive — the people I’ve never had the benefit to meet that I am such big fans of like, you know, Gilda Radner and John Belushi and Phil Hartman, and I guess (Chris) Farley as well. So I’ll go with Radner, Farley, Hartman, and I think with that cast we could write a good sketch.
Turning away from your writing days and more toward your college days, what’s the most ridiculous thing you did in college?
The most ridiculous thing I did in college … I remember a couple of times going, like leaving bars when the car was too crowded, and I just rode in the trunk, but like way longer — from Chicago to Evanston. That wasn’t smart.
And what about the most valuable thing you learned in college?
Well, I mean I think the most valuable thing I got from college (Northwestern University) was going to a school that had such a strong performing arts school and just the people I met. You meet so many talented people, and you realize that there were no successful, talented people that also didn’t work really hard. And obviously you go to a school where people are there to excel. That was great.
And so if you could go back in time and offer your college self any piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say there’s no other time in your life when you’ll have time to learn things. So like, try to learn things they’re trying to teach you — you’ll be so happy about it. You can’t believe that you will at some point in your life be in South Africa and even have taken a history of South Africa class, and you can’t remember any of it.
Any more romantic comedies in your future?
If I will, they’ll be, like, twice as romantic.