Selfie-Less Seth Meyers: Jokes will Rule the Emmys


The only thing Seth Meyersis concerned about when hosting this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards is whether the world will be watching.

“I think America probably had to change things around,” he told Variety about the ceremony’s Monday broadcast, compared to its live Sunday show in years past. “They’ve got to remember to watch it.”

It’s likely audiences will. For one, he follows 2013 master of ceremonies Neil Patrick Harris, who brought 17.6 million viewers in when the Emmys aired on CBS—its biggest ratings in eight years. Surely, television buffs want to see if Meyers can measure up, especially now that the show will air on NBC, home of his eponymous Late Night gig.

One famed host he won’t try to top is Ellen DeGeneres. Not only did she bring the 86th annual Academy Awards its top viewership since 2000, she broke Twitter with an epic selfie comprised of A-listers like Angelina JolieBradley Cooper, and Lupita N’yongo.

“We’re really hoping to have really good jokes all the time. With something like this, the level of success is because the jokes are really good,” Meyers said. “We hope that by the time the monologue’s over, which is obviously the most important thing the host does, that people are going to be good and ready for the next few hours of awards.” He did add that a skit involves him downloading an app, but “we’ll see how long that takes.”

Here’s what he had to say about pulling together an Emmys writing team, social media’s impact on the awards show, and how Saturday Night Live helped prepare him for the gig:

On the SNL effect:

“The SNL schedule certainly helps you with this idea that the week leading up to, in this case the Emmys, is when you’re going to get your best work done. We just sat down on Tuesday to do our first joke read and it gave us a sense as far as monologue that we’re a little over halfway there, which is great. We can send people off to write more jokes. But it’s great to be surrounded by people who know how to write jokes under pressure.”

On building an Emmys writing team:

“I brought my writing staff from Late Night, as well as people that I’ve just sort of trusted over the years that I’m confident at some point that I’ll be able to repay the favor. You kind of call all cars in a situation like this and fortunately, over the years, I’ve met a lot of talented cars.”

On incorporating social media:

“I think there will be some kind of digital element but we aren’t really approaching it that way. We’ll see what comes up. The nice thing is when events happen now, Twitter makes it digital without you having to do anything.”

On his Emmys hosting inspiration:

“I’m always so impressed when, like when Fallon did it four years ago or when Conan did it, when you watch people who are just good at this stuff and just build it around their strengths. I think that’s good to remember and to try to do your Emmys as opposed to try to do you someone else’s Emmys.”

Tune in to the Emmys on Monday, August 25 at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.