Seth Meyers is preternaturally calm. This may seem hard to believe, as he has a weeknightly gig hosting "Late Night" and is all set to host the fast-approaching 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. But this particular funnyman is also eminently practical.
"Trust me," he says. "As it gets closer, I think it'll sink in that I'm hosting the Emmy Awards. But I've learned that if you spin out too much ahead of time, that's when you get in trouble. The butterflies will be in full flutter come Aug. 25."
Perhaps part of Meyers' even-temperedness comes from a sense of security. He's been an NBC company man since 2001, with a run that started at "Saturday Night Live" (and eventually slotted him into the frequently career-launching spot of "Weekend Update" anchor); when fellow "SNL" alum Jimmy Fallon ascended to the "Tonight Show" throne earlier this year, Meyers smoothly slipped into his "Late Night" slot. So when it was NBC's turn to house the Emmy telecast this year, Meyers simply made sense as host. He was there, he was reliable, he was funny (and he has his own nomination, for co-writing the 71st Golden Globes jokes). Sign him up!
"I am smart enough to know I was on a shortlist," he says. "If on a year CBS had the show — that would have been the surprise, if they'd hired me. But it doesn't seem like you last very long running a network and giving it to someone who isn't in your own stable."
And while he has plans for the ceremony kicking around in his head, he's not ready to commit them to paper just yet. Meyers has hosting down solid (he's done multiple Webby Awards, emceed the ESPY Awards twice and in 2011 was the keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents' Assn. Dinner) — but his experience at "SNL" taught him not to plan too far ahead.
"Every summer when we were on break from 'SNL,' I'd be like, 'Oh, I'll come up with stuff now and be way ahead when the season starts,' but then I'd fall out of love with what I'd come up with by then, or it would be dated," he says.
For the Emmys, he says, "we know we want to accomplish a strong monologue — my skill set will lend itself to that more than anything else. Then, two or three film pieces with cameos. But the jokes, we have to wait to see the whites of their eyes before we get the hard work done."
A longtime Emmy fan (as a kid, his favorite acceptance speech giver was five-time winner John Larroquette), Meyers has a realistic take on the pacing of his hosting slot: He wants to start off big and then just try to keep it moving along. "It's very important to front-load the comedy. Once people start category counting from the back in that last half hour, you know you've lost them."
Regardless of how things go, Meyers is all set to take one for the team — his team being the network. After all, this is a guy who says he hasn't had to change his security card photo in 13 years. "I don't like taking ID photos," he says. "The fact that I can still use one from 2001 is a good thing. I'm forever young on my 30 Rock ID.
"To be taken care of like the studio system once did, the way I have been, I'm delighted by," says Mr. Calm. "I really hit the jackpot. Other than the fact that once a week I get on the elevator to 'SNL'; that's not quite out of my system. I figure I've got a two-year detox on that before I turn down the right hallways."