Seth Meyers Weighs In on SNL Exits: "It's a Really Exciting Time"
Saturday Night Live will be down three of its biggest stars when it returns this fall, but that hasn't dampened Seth Meyers' spirits about returning to the "Weekend Update" anchor desk.
"[It's] certainly a rebuilding effort, but I don't think it's any bigger than ones that have happened historically. It's a really exciting time to be at the show. I'm really glad I'm going back for the first-half of next year," Meyers said at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews on Wednesday. "I think the most fun I ever had at the show was the first year with Andy [Samberg], Bill [Hader], Jason [Sudeikis] and Kristen [Wiig] when they call came in."
Hader and Fred Armisen confirmed in May that they would not be coming back this fall, while Sudeikis only recently opened up about his departure. "That time when a bunch of people leave — it's thrilling because we know the new people and we're just introducing them to you," longtime SNL producer and current Late Night executive producer Michael Shoemaker said. "It is actually a lot of work, but It's great."
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This upcoming season will also mark Meyers' last on the show, as he prepares to inherit Jimmy Fallon's Late Night perch when Fallon graduates to The Tonight Show early next year. "I'll stay at the desk until they get me a new desk," Meyers joked when asked about when he'll depart Studio 8H.
Until then, Meyers will have his hands full preparing for his Late Night debut. In addition to working on SNL, he's also launching his new Hulu animated series, The Awesomes. Premiering on Aug. 1, Meyers and Shoemaker co-created the series, which shows what happens to the greatest superhero team in history after its most powerful members leave. The show was first conceived in 2006 because of Meyers and Shoemaker's shared love of comic books — which they bonded over during trips to Midtown Comics in Time Square during Meyers' early years at SNL. "We never kind of stopped. We always wanted to do it. We never felt like it was in the way," Shoemaker said. Added Meyers: "There's such a large appetite for any kind of superhero story."
Although most of the recent superhero stories in pop culture have been dark and grittier adaptations, such as The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel, Meyers said he always wanted to go in a slightly different direction. "Superhero movies-wise, I've always enjoyed the team movies more for the reason that you don't have to spend so much time on one person's really dark origin story," he said.
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Citing Justice League and X-Men as some of his favorite source material, Meyers was also drawn to a group dynamic because of his years working in a large ensemble on SNL. "So much of SNL and working at SNL is pulling together really talented people to have some sense of cohesion to accomplish something and I feel like there's probably a fair amount of parallel," he said.
So, naturally, when it came to cast the voices on The Awesomes, Meyers called upon many of his SNL comrades, including Hader, Kenan Thompson, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam, Rachel Dratch and Paula Pell. "[I could] knock on Kenan's door and say, 'Can you come down to the eighth floor and record 50 lines for us," Meyers said. "Discount isn't even fair as to what we got from them."
Working with so many of his colleagues also helped Meyers and Shoemaker craft the characters on The Awesomes, who look strikingly like their vocal counterparts. "I wanted to be able to see the faces of the actors in there somewhere so that it would make easier for us to write for them," Shoemaker said. "We just knew it would help the process."
The Awesomes' first two episodes premiere on Hulu on Aug. 1.