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If “Saturday Night Live” comedian Seth Meyers had done a gig two months ago at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, I would have thought: great show, funny guy.
But, in May, it was announced that Meyers was going to take over hosting “Late Night” in early 2014, when Jimmy Fallon leaves for “The Tonight Show.”
So, watching Meyers do his stand-up Saturday at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, I had an ever-percolating underlying thought: what does his performance here say about how he’ll be as a talk-show host?
Based on his live concert, things look promising. He’s immensely likeable, with a subversive but not mean sense of humor. He comes across as totally at ease, even when asking audience members questions (good practice for dealing with talk-show guests). Oh, and he wears a suit-and-tie really well.
One thing that was surprising was how few current events Meyers riffed on. That will be his bread-and-butter for the “Late Night” monologues, as it was during his “Weekend Update” reign on “SNL.”
But the newsy topics were rare. He did, though, work in a bit about Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots player caught up in a murder investigation, and how Boston sports fans can justify anything. Meyers slipped into a wicked Bahstan accent and explained, in the guise of a Patriots fan, that Russian President Vladimir Putin stole Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s ring and told him not to tell, but Kraft did, so clearly Putin decided to frame one of Kraft’s players.
Meyers touched on the NSA eavesdropping scandal, too, saying that the way liberals are defending Obama sounds like people who defend themselves for being in terrible relationships: “Yeah, he reads my emails and listens to my phone calls ... but that’s because he looooves me.”
Some of Meyers’ bits felt decidedly dated. Yes, his routine about George W. Bush’s amazing ability to duck the shoes hurled at him during an Iraq press conference was funny — but, really, that happened so long ago. Sometimes, dude, you have to let a good joke go.
Arguably Meyers’ strongest material consisted of personal tales — playing football as a kid; living in Amsterdam for two years; navigating the relationship with his longtime girlfriend. The stories rolled out fluidly, finding big laughs in the reality of it all.
Meyers reflected, too, on headlining the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011, where he was a huge hit — except with Donald Trump, who had presidential aspirations at the time. Sample Meyers joke: “Trump said he’s running as a Republican. Which is surprising: I just assumed he was running as a joke.”
In the midst of one story, Meyers noted, “I am prone to sarcasm.” We wouldn’t have it any other way.