Emmys 2014: How’d Seth Meyers do? The critics weigh in

Seth Meyers speaks to the audience at the Emmy Awards ceremony at the Nokia Theatre on Aug. 25.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

How’d Seth Meyers do in his debut as host of the Emmys? So far, the critics seem to think the “Late Night” comedian was not at all bad, especially considering the degree of difficulty he faced.

First up, there was a fact that the show, which usually lands on a Sunday in late September, was scheduled for a Monday night in August -- hardly an auspicious time slot -- thanks to conflicts with the VMAs and “Sunday Night Football.” But perhaps even more problematic was the feeling of deja vu that plagued the night, when so many awards went to previous winners rather than exciting newcomers such as “Orange is the New Black” and “True Detective.”

The Times’ Mary McNamara called Meyers “great,” noting that his monologue, full of industry jokes about the broadcast-versus-cable rift and this year’s rampant category-fudging, provided “insight into the wonderful roiling madness that is television today.”

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Less effusive, but still positive, was Slate’s Willa Paskin. Meyers provided a “steady hand and reliable charm,” she said, even if he “is not a huge personality, and his opening monologue was a little understated.”

Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times had similarly lukewarm praise for Meyers, saying he “was charming, but he didn’t take many risks, and overall, the ceremony was a brisk, rather tame event.”

Others seemed to think that Meyers was reliable and efficient but allowed others do to the heavy comedic lifting.

“The only real standout bit came not from Meyers, but from Billy Eichner. The big musical number? Again, not Meyers -- that one went to Weird Al Yankovic,” wrote Margaret Lyons at Vulture.

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The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman observed that Meyers was upstaged by other late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, but said that he was “affable and steady and kept the banter light and upbeat” on “one hell of a weird, head-scratching awards show.”

Daniel D’Addario at Salon docked Meyers, who referred to his friends Amy Poehler and Tina Fey by first names only, for “lean[ing] heavily on his [‘Saturday Night Live’] comrades, a group whose amiability began, years ago, to curdle into cool-kids’-clubbiness.”

Meyers had his out-and-out detractors too. Writing for the New Yorker, Sarah Larson said Meyers “seems to embody the obsolescence of the [late-night] genre. He was a fine fake newsman on “Weekend Update,” but as a person -- a real host, a presence -- he seems to have little at stake other than his own success or failure, as measured by the success of his jokes. You don’t feel any passion, personality, or vulnerability.”


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