'SNL' vet plans to talk a little trash during visit to C-U

CHAMPAIGN — Seth Meyers will come to the Assembly Hall to gloat, among other things, about how much better his alma mater is doing compared to the Illini.

"I see Northwestern in the Rose Bowl," Meyers said of the Wildcats, who were 6-1 at the time of his prediction.

Illinois, not so much.

Meyers, who takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Champaign, has visited the campus before, but not as the star of "Seth Meyers Live!" It's an evening of stand-up comedy in the Assembly Hall Star Theatre.

"The nice thing about stand-up is literally standing up and sorta talking about my life stories," Meyers said.

Meyers was born in Evanston but grew up in New Hampshire.

Long before he read the "Saturday Night Live" news and repeatedly asked "Really? Really?" of some of the stranger stories, Meyers was an undergraduate member of the Northwestern improvisational sketch group Mee-Ow, something on the lines of Second City.

He also went on to work for two years at a comedy club in Amsterdam with his brother Josh Meyers, a former regular on "MADtv."

"Paying your dues is pretty important," Meyers said. "It would have been pretty presumptuous to think I'd get where I am based on where I was coming from as a student. I never thought I would end up on the show I watched when I was 11."

It also has been 11 years since he joined the "Saturday Night Live" cast.

It took a while, but in 2005, he was promoted to writing supervisor. The next year, he became co-head writer with Tina Fey and Andrew Steele.

"The writing staff is incredible," Meyers said. "It's a lot of fun."

In 2004, he auditioned to share "Weekend Update" anchor duties with Fey. But producer Lorne Michaels went with Amy Poehler. Both Fey and Poehler have their own NBC shows now.

Meyers became head writer for the 2006-07 season and also took on the role of "Weekend Update" co-anchor with Poehler before going solo. Meyers said he is a big fan of former "Weekend Update" anchor Dennis Miller, among other influences.

He said other "SNL" players deserve recognition.

"I always like to give it up for the veterans, like Fred Armisen. When you start writing for them, the most exciting thing is finding out their skills and how that plays into the writing," Meyers said.

The trip to the Assembly Hall is not part of a giant tour. He does individual dates depending on his workload at "SNL."

"I love being on the road, though," he said. "I get to use material that doesn't quite fit together with 'Weekend Update,' observations that don't quite fit in well enough."

He especially enjoys working during a presidential election year, when there's no shortage of material.

"The bitterness (of political ads) is good for us, but at some point, it's bad for us. You end up on the wrong side of some people," he said.

 

If you go

What: "Seth Meyers Live!"

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: University of Illinois Star Theatre

Tickets: Prices range from $30 to $42; UI students' tickets are $28 (excludes floor seats); available at the Assembly Hall box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, online at http://www.uofiassemblyhall.com or by phone at 866-ILLINI-1.

More info: http://www.uofiassemblyhall.com

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