Why Returning To SNL Is Still So Nerve-Wracking, According To Seth Meyers

seth meyers as thomas jefferson

For entertainers like Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon, who spent years rocking the stage on Saturday Night Live before heading off to more pre-taped pastures in the late night realm, fans might think that there's little that can shake them, performance-wise. But that's not so much the case, as the duo rediscovered when returning to SNL for Weekend Update: Summer Edition last month. Meyers stopped by The Tonight Show, and he and Fallon talked about the difficulties involved. When asked why he thought it was still so nerve-wracking to return, Meyers said this:

I think just you can never shake that no matter how many SNLs you do, you remember your first SNL and how terrified you were then, so that 'fear' muscle memory is there. Also, just that it's live, that still matters.

Well, if that doesn't make the most amount of sense imaginable, I don't know what would be better. For anyone who's ever performed on stage in front of anyone for the first time, especially in front of a camera sending out a live feed, that experience is almost always coupled with a gut-sloshing feeling that something could go wrong. And even though Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon are consummate vets in that line of duty, the fear obviously still remains, as Fallon said during the interview he was nervous as if he was about to "step into the ring and fight somebody" before taking the stage again.

And particularly for Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon during their return to the live spotlight for the summer series --they appeared as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, respectively -- things weren't as smooth as they could have been. For one, the script copies that Fallon got were Z-grade photocopies, prompting a joke that all the good copiers were also off for the summer. Also, Meyers' day job got in the way of being able to properly prepare for the Weekend Update: Summer Edition gig. In his words:

Also, I didn't get to do dress rehearsal because it was during [Late Night], so the first time I did it was live. And you think that SNL's got it all figured out now, but there's a lot of it that's still very analog. Including that when you're a guest on 'Update,' you're just sitting in a rolling chair, waiting for someone to shove you out.

And guess what? Jimmy Fallon's chair wasn't so great in the rolling department, and he actually almost tipped over while doing his "crossing the Delaware" gag during that episode. You can check Fallon and Meyers' segment out below.

So for anybody with aspirations to join the Saturday Night Live cast specifically as a way of tamping down the fear of performing in front of live audiences, both in the studio and at home, maybe going back to the drawing board would be a better idea, since even the most celebrated professionals aren't immune to it.

But there's no fear about Saturday Night Live being gone from our lives for too long, as Season 43 is set to premiere on Saturday, September 30, at 11:35 p.m. ET. (Though missing some of its stars from years past.) Keep up to date with our host rundown, and then bookmark our fall TV schedule to see all the new shows heading to primetime and beyond.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.