NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers has been one of the late-night shows to truly shine during the pandemic. The recurring sketches and pointed satirical jokes have pushed the show in a fresh direction, but there’s been one missing element – a studio audience. That doesn’t seem to bother host Seth Meyers that much, though, and he recently revealed the silver lining to not having a live in-studio audience for the late-night staple.
It's been interesting to see Seth Meyers and NBC’s Late Night have risen to the occasion in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as having no in-studio audience has pushed the late-night series past the traditional format. Despite the lack of a live audience, Meyers can actually see a benefit in the fact that he can now cater to a different, yet important, audience:
I think people who watch at home there’s a higher percentage chance that they’re tuning in with regularity, and weirdly that’s always been the most important audience and so I feel more connected to them than ever before, almost as a benefit. I feel like removing that proxy audience that came every night has made it like a direct path to the people at home.
Without a studio audience, Seth Meyers and Late Night have become funnier and more irreverent with the segments and commentary. The host does seem more engaged with the home viewers while playing into his sensibilities. Catering to television viewers has seemingly worked for the NBC late-night series and Meyer’s brand of humor. But not having a studio audience has done more than improving Meyer’s connection with home viewers.
Since moving on without a live audience, Late Night has become more serialized, compared to late-night companion The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Recurring segments and skits have brought Seth Meyers closer to his Saturday Night Live roots. When speaking on the late-night staple’s current format, Meyers further explained to Collider:
I do think it has allowed us to build this weird cinematic universe of characters on our show… I think the audience who came to our show, most of them knew our show, most of them liked our show, probably very few of them watched it every night.
Meyers' perspective on home viewers has paid off in more creative ways, as he explained. In the interview, The Late Night host stated his belief that the NBC late-night talk show is at its peak right now. Seth Meyers admitted the current format is the series’ “purest version,” as he and his crew feel empowered to find new ways to be funny for home audiences. Late-night talk show fans would likely agree that this break from tradition has given Late Night an unexpected edge compared to other late-night talk shows.
While The Tonight Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert saw ratings boost from the returns of their live audiences, Late Night doesn’t seem to be in a rush for a full audience yet. We'll be watching to see how the show continues to do as time goes on. To see how the show is handling with the “new normal,” you can watch Late Night with Seth Meyers weeknights on NBC at 12:35 am ET.