Seth Meyers on hosting the Emmys: 'We're going to try to bring a little New York to L.A.'
Seth Meyers usually plays host to a TV star or two each night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. But on Monday, he’ll play host to hundreds of them—and all of tube-obsessed America—as he emcees the small screen’s biggest night: The Emmys, which air on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
On a scale of one to 10, how pants-wetting nervous will Meyers be when he walks out on stage at the Nokia Theatre? “Oh, I think I‘ll be high 9s. But I’m happy it’s the same physical space as the ESPYs,” says Meyers, who hosted the sports awards show in 2011. “For me, the most nerve-racking is the first time in a space. It’s a different audience and a different set, but at least down in the caverns of the building, the hallways are the same. And I know where the bathroom is, so that’s good.”
EW spoke with the former SNL head writer and Weekend Update anchor about what to expect when he goes live from L.A. on Emmy night. (Fans of Game of Thrones and other quality shows: Catch up on unwatched episodes before tuning in. Or reading on.)
• He’s more interested in toasting television than roasting it. “This is a time to remind people how good the good is in television right now,” he says. “It’s maybe better than ever.”
• He plans to offer up jokes that haven’t been sitting around all summer. “My experience is the best stuff comes together as we get closer,” he says. “I come from a long line of procrastinators at SNL. You want to keep the jokes fresh and you don’t want to spend too much time with them.”
• There are a few surprises up his tux sleeve, and he’s willing to tease one of them right here: “We’re going to try to bring a little New York to L.A.” (A couple of SNL friends? The Naked Cowboy? Real pizza?)
• He’s wishing good luck to all nominees… but maybe a little extra to two in particular. “For people like Amy Poehler, people like Jon Hamm, who have never won and I obviously have great love for them personally and their work, it would be nice to see a win,” he says. “First-time winners are always exciting.” And it sounds like a certain Parks star/former Weekend Update co-anchor just might bring home a statue no matter what: “Look, she’s very easily tricked,” deadpans Meyers. “So even if she doesn’t win, we’ve got one of these plastic jobs, and I’m going to present her with ‘Best Supporting Friend For Me, Seth.'”
• There are a few other awards that he wouldn’t mind handing out this year. Given the hours of breathless red carpet coverage that will directly precede the ceremony, “I think that during the show, people at home should be able to vote on Most Genuine Red Carpet Interview,” Meyers quips. “It’s like, who was the person on the Emmy red carpet that showed us the most of their true self?” Another dream category? “Best On-Camera Death. There’s so much carnage this year,” he says. “If that was an Emmy, Game of Thrones would be dominating that category the last few years.” It also captures the spirit with which he vows to emcee this shiny night: “I promise a skull-popping good time, on par with the death of Oberyn Martell.”
• Was that last one a spoiler for you? Meyers strongly advises viewers to be up to date on their favorite shows—and those on their totally-have-been-meaning-to-watch-that lists. “Catch up, everybody. I’m going to spoil stuff,” he warns. “It’s not my job on a night when we’re honoring television to keep the secrets of the shows that people haven’t had the energy to watch. It’s the summer, there’s not a lot of television on right now. Catch up, watch everything, because I don’t want to hear afterward that you’re halfway through season 2 of Breaking Bad.”