Unfortunately due to a prior commitment to a tween I did not see much comedy today, I spent much of the day listening to Wizrock and dressed in my finest Wizarding regalia (as seen above). Apparently there was Wiz-Comedy as well but I didn’t catch it. I really should have made an effort but I was much more interested in watching the two University of Guelph Quidditch teams go face to face for a chance at the cup.
After my adventures in off brand Wizarding, I returned home and prepared myself for a night of comedy with Seth Meyers. If you are unfamiliar with Seth Meyers you are really missing out, current host of Late Night with Seth Meyers and former head writer and Weekend Update anchor for SNL he has a storied career as a comedian as well as a writer for himself. Some contend it was his White House Correspondent’s Dinner that gave us the Trump Presidency but don’t hold that against him (because, you know, even if it did that didn’t make Trump the craziest crayon in the box).
My first headliner of the season, the Sony Centre is as always a good venue. There’s not really a bad seat in the house and for the price of a stand alone ticket you’re still able to get a decent orchestra seat with a clear view of the stage. Sure it’s not the super sweet spitting distance that you get with a VIP ticket but to be honest it’s still terrific and some times that bit of distance gives you a better view of the acts stage work. The headliners are always a different vibe than The 42, you get a lot of audience who are not necessarily the most engaged of comedy fans and who may be there for the one act. This can often lead to some overly zealous behaviour or some grumpiness when the television personality who does a kid friendly sitcom or late night talk show doesn’t turn out to be the kind of act they were expecting.
Tonight’s show delivered something for the casual fan looking for the political material that defines much of his Late Night material as well as those of us who were looking forward to see Seth step out from behind the desk and boy were we rewarded. Seth’s material is bold and brassy with language that’s more than a little salty (not Bob Saget levels of spice but would for sure land him in trouble with the S&P team back at NBC). Starting with a quick acknowledgement of the city of Toronto and some of its unique character he segued into the inevitable Trump material. If you’ve watched an episode of Late Night you know he’s a passionate and articulate comedian who’s honed his craft for years writing in some of the most adverse conditions towards creativity and when he starts tearing into political matters on TV you can see the passion that drives his material. It was tight and together and like the best of his Late Night A Closer Look pieces but for me that’s not where the set shone. It was good and fun and all but I see him do that on a daily basis.
It was the middle and end of his hour and fifteen minute set where he was talking about themes of family, faith, marriage, parenting and relationships that really vibrated with passion. He bounced from topic to topic with the same energy he has when he eviscerates the Trump administration. Recounting stories about his personal life including embellished versions of stories that he has recounted previously about the birth of his sons it was a personal look that we don’t often see and it was full of a passion and energy that was infectious keeping the audience laughing to the very end.
At one point he recounts a story where his sarcasm landed him in hot water and the rest of the set buttresses the authenticity of the story as between the gentle remarks about being a dad or self-deprecating humour about what his wife puts up with in living with him he will occasionally hide a merciless barb directed at the powers at be. A jab at Louis C.K. and a dig at liberal hypocrisy whilst simultaneously displaying his liberal credentials and demanding better of his peers and himself. This set made it evident that Seth Meyers has taken Sarcasm and refined it to a scalpel like and deadly edge that cuts away the fat and gets at the heart of the matter like all good comedy should do.
Matthew Ardill & Jason Deline
Partners in crime we collaborate to create the Comedy Album Book Club, a deep dive into comedy history.