The acclaimed actor brings his one-man show to the Bushnell on June 30; Cirque du Soleil comes to Hartford June 19-July 21; No Kids plays at the 24th International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven June 12-14.
Alasdair Neale will officially take over as music director and conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the fourth oldest in the country, July 1, shortly after he is introduced to the community at a free concert on the New Haven Green on June 22.
From Saturday Night Live to Late Night, Seth Meyers has found a way into our homes after dark for almost two decades. He and his family even found their way into Connecticut with the recent purchase of a weekend home in Litchfield County. It’ll be another late night for Meyers on June 9 when he brings his stand-up show to the Ridgefield Playhouse for two sets (7 & 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $90). I assumed that meant he was on vacation from his TV show the following day. I was wrong.
How do you have the energy for that?
We’ll see how it goes. You should definitely watch that Monday show and we’ll decide if it was a mistake or not.
I can’t imagine there’s many things better for a performer than scheduling a show and having to add a second one.
It’s always really exciting and I’ve heard really nice things about this theater, so it’s fun to sell tickets quickly enough to get to add one in. And for me, because I don’t get to go out that much and do stand-up, anytime I can do two in a night it’s just so efficient and a lot more fun.
You attended Jerry Seinfeld’s star-studded 65th birthday party recently. Even though you are where you are in your career, do nights like that still feel surreal to you?
Yeah, my wife and I were saying the closest to that was the SNL 40th Anniversary show, which was just one of those nights where there were so many people that are iconic and beloved. And it’s a small room, so the traffic patterns are weird and you have to constantly say excuse me to people that you never thought you’d be interacting with.
When you write a sketch for SNL — like the Louis CK as Abraham Lincoln short — do you emerge with a finished product or do you pitch the idea and work on it with a group?
That was a case of just trying to come up with an idea that I thought would be good for Louis as a host. It was right around when that movie Lincoln came out, so it was just trying to find your way to that. And then you pitch it to Louis and he likes the idea, but then basically I just wrote it by myself at a computer. You go through rewrites and obviously when you’re writing a piece like that it’s very inspired by the actual host’s voice and their comic choices. He added a ton to it as well, certainly the stand-up portions of it. You get the idea on your own and then you sort of bring in whoever you think can help make it better. It’s pretty collaborative by the very end.
Which interviewers have made an impression on you and influenced your interviewing style?
I think being a student of improv, an improviser, has probably been the most helpful thing as far as how I interview. Because improv is very much based on listening and trying to create something with the person you’re out there with, not talking over them and letting what’s said influence the next thing you ask. Looking back I always loved watching Letterman interview people. But I probably, on YouTube, go back and watch Carson interviews more than anything else.
Some SNL cast members make it big when they leave, some fizzle out. In the time that you were there, could you predict what was going to happen with certain people?
The cast that I always felt was the most exceptional when I was there, and I don’t count myself among the exceptional people in that cast, but I think it was ’07-’08 with a fairly small cast compared to other years I was there. I think there was only about 11 of us. I definitely thought every single person in that cast would go on to do great things, and so far that’s really turned out to be the case. Be it movie careers like [Kristen] Wiig, people who have created their own TV shows like [Will] Forte, [Andy] Samberg, [Bill] Hader, [Amy] Poehler. Just looking back, that was a real murderer’s row.
Kids always want to make their mothers proud. You had your mother and three aunts in the audience recently. I’m guessing that does the trick.
That was pretty good. My mom came and she’s always been a huge supporter; both my parents. They not only have always come to everything my brother and I have done, but they also always acted like it was a noble thing to do, to be in comedy. And that’s a helpful thing when you’re a kid.
I’m doing what I would have dreamed I was gonna do when I was young. This is what I wanted to do. And so now that I’m doing it I don’t want to pass up the opportunities that are available to me. It’s here for me to take. And I enjoy it.