‘SNL’ writer Meyers keeps it topical at Bramlage

By Christopher K. Conner

Recently, the Union Program Council of the K-State Student Union presented comedian and “Saturday Night Live” head writer Seth Meyers at Bramlage Coliseum.

Meyers walked onto the stage from behind the familiar black curtain used to divide Bramlage during stage shows. His casual attire was unusual only because on Saturday nights, viewers of “SNL”are accustomed to seeing him in the coat and tie he wears when delivering the Weekend Update segment.

Meyers’ material covered a lot of ground. Everything from politics to pornography. He even joked about the requests some venues make for clean shows or shows that omit certain topics. For his performance in Manhattan, apparently no one requested a clean show and Meyers worked blue for much of his time on stage.

Seeming at home in front of a college audience, Meyers mentioned the similarities between his alma mater, Northwestern, and K-State: a wildcat mascot and purple school color. He was a little confused by the boos he received when mentioning Northwestern, but recovered well when he demonstrated he understood the relative skills of K-State and KU football.

Several times in his performance, Meyers mentioned his sarcastic nature. Many of the situations he retold about his own life came down to this natural sarcasm and how others reacted to it. His personal stories kept the audience laughing both at his sarcasm and the highlighted reactions. These stories did a lot to maintain a good connection with the audience despite the stories’ improbable and embarrassing endings.

Outside of his personal stories, Meyers covered other topics with the same charisma and down to earth style. Even when discussing uncomfortable topics, the audience reacted with appreciation and uproarious laughter.

While Seth Meyers mentioned “SNL” several times, he waited until the end to share a few jokes that didn’t make it on Weekend Update. Claiming that these punchlines didn’t make it past the censors, he pulled out cards, stepped into his role as Weekend Update anchor and read a dozen headlines with their off color commentary. Some of the headlines merited multiple jokes so he repeated a few with alternate punchlines. Beyond that brief window into the challenges of writing for a weekly comedy program, little of Meyer’s material came from “Saturday Night Live.”

After the end of the show, Meyers did a half hour of question and answer. Using two microphones to get questions from the audience, he responded well to the usual quirky and probably repetitive inquiries. A number of aspiring comedians took the opportunity to fire a few quips in his direction and he remained gracious and encouraging. The bulk of the questions were about “SNL” and the process of working with guest hosts and writing material for the varied talents on the program.

Certainly much of his material is recycled for college audiences across the country, but at no point did his delivery seem rote or exhausted. Even though Seth Meyers admitted he prefers writing to performing, he maintains his skills as a talented stage presence and his delivery and timing were excellent. His intelligent wit and topical sarcasm kept the audience laughing and engaged. If given a chance to see Seth Meyers on stage, I would recommend the experience.

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