tv Charlie Rose PBS August 24, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. at the end of summer and we're looking back a some of the best moments on the program. tonight comedian an encore presentation of my conversations with samantha bee, seth meyers, billy eichner and the founders of the up right citizen's brigade. >> the name started as the name of our comedy troop but what it represents is a much bigger things the improvisers and writers. it's almost philosophy in many ways. it's a community and it's made up of the people that inhabit it so there are many members. >> rose: some favorite comedians when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following:
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: billy eichner is here, he's the creator and star of the poppure comedy game show billy on the street. tina fey. will pharaoh, david letterman and david letterman made appearance on the show. it's currently airing on tv. they call gardner the cyclone of pop culture rifts and unfounded energy. here's a look at billy on the street. >> hey guys, i'm billy eichner and this is on tv this fall. in the circle if you're excited for the new james bond movie.
keep spinning keep spinning keep spinning keep spinning. keep spinning keep spinning keep spinning keep spinning. there you go. take it, bye. rob lowe is back. >> hello. >> who is he. >> rob lowe. >> i don't know him. at the gay. >> no. >> name three clintons, go. >> sorry. >> name three clintons. >> kennedy. >> get out of here. >> put yourself in demi lovato shoes. >> i don't want to. >> is this on brand for you is it on brand for anyone. >> we're going to play a game called cate blanchett. if you need help. we can ask a circumcised man or tweet an elderly person. >> you win. the one and only jason -- sarah
jessica parker. bill cosby, i mean bill hader. julie anne moore. what are you doing on this show. she seems more down to earth. oh my god. >> rose: how did this come into being. >> oh my goodness. i am an actor first. >> rose: north western. >> i went to north western. a theatre major. >> rose: stephen colbert. >> i grew up in new york city. started in improv and comedy and started a live stage show called creation nation but i did it in front of 50 people because no one was hiring me to be on tv. i did my version of a late night talk show and in it i took on this persona of someone who was
just irrationally passionate about pop culture. >> rose: yes. >> had brings this crazy urgency and anger to these most superficial matters that i was genuinely interested in at the same time. and at some point i said what if we take this persona out on to the street. because i would rant and rave on stage and the audience would eat it up. >> rose: you would rant and rave on stage. >> it was more like theatre because i was a theatre kid. i wasn't a traditional stand up. >> rose: and you consider yourself as a stand up kid instead of a comedian. >> when people started saying comedian billy eichner i thought who are they talking about because i was north western not that that sounds so pretentious, i loved comedy i was always in comedy but in place. i wasn't a stand up someone who grew up saying i got to go to stand up comedy club tonight and try out 15 minutes, you know. i loved theatre. i grew up in new york. i went to broadway, i worshipped
nathan lane and martin short. at the same time loved steve martin. i loved people who had over the top persona i guess. it's really drawn to that. >> rose: it was natural for you to fall into that. >> i think so. >> rose: you grew up in queens. >> i grew up in queens went to high school in manhattan. i was a real city kid. >> rose: you came back here. >> i came back to new york. >> rose: thinking you would be a theatre actor. >> trying to be an actor, theatre, film, tv. i wanted to be on a sit com. you just wanted a job. doing telemark is for the united jewish federation. wasn't what i was planning on charlie. >> rose: when did you know. after creation and other things, did you say this will morph right into billy on the street. >> well, we would show billy on the street videos during creation nation, my live show. it was a segment in my live show. and from the first time we showed one, the audience loved it. and then the videos kept getting tighter. i got more confident.
strangely enough i'm not someone, like a lot of actors, i'm not normal to shy off stage if i don't knou. but people loved this act. this billy on the street act. they loved the energy. i think a real savvy new york l.a. audience who is basically what i was performing for at the time, this was before youtube really appreciated getting insanely worked up about entertainment, about the entertainment industry. so when the videos did well in my live show eventually youtube came along. i put the videos on youtube and they went viral as they say. and funny or die, will pharaoh and addict mick cabe, a guy named mike famer e-mailed me out of the blue and said like what you're doing. if you're ever in l.a. came and see me maybe we'll work together. i was broke, poor, no health insurance, nothing. and i said to my dad, i'm not telling this guy i'm going to l.a. just to see him. i'm going to make up an excuse
why i'm going to l.a. but i'm going to l.a. to talk to funny or die because this could really be something. i did and i went and talked to mike and told him i have an idea to turn these videos that you like into a half hour tv show with a very loose loose game show element. >> rose: outside. >> outside. all outside and i'll give out not big prizes or big cash i'll give out a dollar or some terrible prize i bought at the supermarket or something. >> rose: was it an immediate hit outside. >> yeah. i mean sometimes people walk away and sometimes they don't. >> rose: a number of people that you contact, that you go up to, how many of them sort of end up a really good so they give you usable material. half of them? >> less. >> rose: less. >> you have to shoot and shoot and shoot until you want to die charlie rose. and i'm close to death but at least i'm popular. >> rose: yes. so how does it work. you know what you want to say, you know it's a dollar and you
get people like david letterman. >> yeah. that became as the show evolved, we started out on a smaller tv network called fuse and recently moved to true tv and cbs for our fourth season and hopefully a fifth season. and then as the show got more popular it did develop a following among celebrities and in the entertainment industry amongst comedians in particular. i did the david letterman show and i grew up worshipping dave. at 12:30, i'm not as young as i look charlie. i would say up when i was eight or nine after carson and watch letterman by myself when he was on at 12:30. >> rose: what was it about david that you loved? did the antic quality of it, he was doing something nobody else done. >> it felt fresh and it still felt fresh years and years later when he had been doing it for a while. but particularly late 80's early 90's when i was coming into my own as a person. i was connected to what dave was doing. and years and years literally
decades later, dave became a fan of mine which was a huge honor for me and joined me on the street one day for a segment. >> rose: did you initiate the call to him or did he initiate the call to you. >> i did a segment on the emmys and i believe letterman's show saw that and they were a fan and they called me to have me on the show. >> rose: then he came on your show. rose: what makes alana so funny. >> she was someone i ran into the street a woman a real new yorker although she was from oklahoma but she has the attitude of quintessential awe serbic. she became an audience favorite and we brought her back to play against the first lady. >> rose: michelle. >> yes. >> rose: how did michelle happen. >> the first lady's team reached out. funny or die had worked with the
president. i had done a video with the president and the first lady wanted to do a video to promote the eat brighter campaign which she was working on with sesame street and they liked the idea of doing a billy on the street segment for the internet which we did, me the first lady, big bird and alana. >> you're going to push me around on a shopping cart while i reach the acceptance speech for shakespeare in love. you stay here. follow me flotus, follow me. hold on flotus. let me get in the car. this must be the highlight of your career flotus. >> this is it. >> here we go hold on you're going to push me while i read gwenate paltrow's acceptance speech. i would like to thank the academy, the cast and crew, i want to thank donna -- stop stop, i didn't get to say
guardian angel, mary wigmore. stop stop. >> rose: great to you. >> thank you charlie. honor to be here. >> rose: improv improvisatios become the most popular form of comedy. this was pioneered by bill close a chicago-based actor and comedian. he taught some of the biggest names in comedy from john belushi to steven colber and tina fey known as the up right citizen's brigade. they moved to new york where they established a theater and a school. the "new york times" called the up right citizen's brigade the most influential name in improve today. joining me are the four fowrnldz of the up right citizen's brigade. i am pleased to have them with me. what do we say about the
brigade. >> it's nice to hear our names said from your mouth. >> i would be described as a disrep annual bunch of nere-do-well's like the little rascal and cobble together a successful theatre and school. >> rose: we did a sketch show together here at comedian central for a few years. >> rose: what's key about it. >> the name started the name of our comedy troop but what the name represents is a much bigger thing which is a larger community of improvisers and sketch comedians and writers. it's almost philosophy in many ways. it's a community and it's made up of the people that inhabit it so there's many members. >> yeah. a lot of comedy theatres have like the top ensemble like
second city has the main stage rmt we didn't build our comedy theatre we referred to the 600 person ensemble. we have three to four shows a night. a different cast for every show. you can in a week have 300 different performers on the stage. like amy's saying it now represents a bunch of people. >> rose: were you inspired by second city. >> yeah. but we wanted to be different. >> we fell into it honestly. having a theatre and a school. it was all by need. we were doing our show and we came out to new york and then started doing an improv show along with our sketch shows and there were these people who had some interest and improvisation and said would you coach us. start coaching enough coaching enough and people who didn't have teams wanted to do what we did and we started teaching classes. we were at a theatre renting space we were renting so much space we were paying the rent. at that point we said we should have our own theatre and teach our classes there and set up our
shows there. >> rose: tell me about owe dell. >> he inspired us more than second city. he said second city does sketch and many prof six just a tool you use for coming up with sketch. that was their philosophy. he always said no improv can be its own art form. and he had a funny contentious relationship with them through the years where they would come back but eventually he left and joined a place called the improv olympic in chicago. and developed this form called the herald which has been developed years earlier but took a position at the improv olympic and that's where we started taking classes from him. but developed this thing with other people but we feel he's the one took it to the next level called long form improv cision. >> rose: what is that. >> short form is games like you'll get a suggestion, you'll tell the audience now we're going to rewind the scene we need a new film genre and do it
like woody allen this time so you know the rules of the game. long form is sprung from one word section usually and you do like 30 to 45 minutes off of one word. >> and hopefully seamlessly so that the best thing you get after you do an improvised show is you have people come up to you and say did you plan that did you talk about that did you know what you were going to do. >> we hoped that ultimate goal is at the end of the show that improvised scene is good enough to be written up and be a sketch. that's what we say we're writing sketches on stage is the easiest way. >> not just the length but we mention it's a scene can also be described as a long term scene as opposed to a short form scene. >> rose: is there a sense improv is sort of coming up, improvisation. >> when i start in chicago there was 120 people in the community and now there's probably a million improvisers worldwide.
>> it was in new york but a less advanced kind of form. when we came here, it was like, you know, bring in silk to america or something. it was like what are you doing, we're not doing that. they've seen the sketch like we were doing before but this improv was unique outside of chicago. now, now we have this marathon where we're getting people from finland, from japan, from all over the world. it's fascinatin to see how they've taken this lessons and interpreted them through their own culture and doing long term improv improvisation but still in their own way. >> rose: explain the consent of yes and. >> it's a simple idea when you're doing a scene instead of shutting down somebody's idea right away, you agree to it and you add something to it. so it's a way to make a scene continue, it's also kind of a philosophy in terms of how you create together with another
improviser. you work together to figure out a scene. for example if i came in and said the doctor will see you now and you say i don't know what you're talking about, this isn't a doctor's office i came to get my tire changed. with a you're saying to the person on stage is i didn't listen to you and i'm going to decide where we are. >> the reality of the scene goes away and it's hard to keep going. >> you have to learn to relinquish your own idea and build off your partners. that's the big part of improv you listen and then build off together. >> rose: a key skill. >> listening is huge. >> rose: here's what you said i'll quote you from 2008 you told the ad club i think the hardest thing is to get to the points where you can live life on stage. remember that or if not. >> so dell used to talk about we're having this conversation here and a natural conversation was give and take, nothing is exaggerated and you want to try to transfer that feeling when you get up on stage. you don't want to try to be
funny. when people try to be funny, they kind of disassociate from real life sometimes. try to stay grounded and real so that the first unusual thing in a scene is what you catch and you explore that. >> rose: take a look at this. this is a sketch from a 1990's up right citizen's brigade live show. >> live show. >> rose: that's what it says. we'll find out. >> we're going to be so young look. >> i'm going to have to cater our reach. >> affirmative, team one we're now going to activate the arms and do a complete, hang in there. >> it wasn't worth this show. >> last minute addition, son. >> okay. >> that's working without me.
>> i'm fully automated. >> there's nothing robotic. that's what the training was for. deprivation, the vomiting. >> you tell me to get out. [laughter] >> this is modern technical glitch nothing to worry about. >> let's load it and you tell me to get out. >> there's nothing to worry about. i'm sending the ramsey arm in to fix it. >> cape canaveral to ground control. >> there's that impression as well. [laughter] >> hello there cape canaveral. we were not informed mere of the ramsey arm. >> ramsey arm needs no basis. >> fair enough. then it does not need to know
the ramsey arm. all right. does that look like ramsey arm specifically rest ling. >> the ramsey arm will be quickly defeated. >> ramsey arm is the force field. >> okay. it's taking over my flight booster. >> yeah. >> rose: tell me what you see. >> discovered a nugget. i have not seen that in a long time. >> it works from the arms, the robotic arms. that was real. that was me guys. >> maybe. >> that was your addition for us, wasn't it? >> i can't believe the robot arms never got on us. >> that was in new york right when we moved here and we moved here to showcase our sketch
shows for comedy central and they eventually bought it. and it never made it to the show but that was us working out a scene after the show just working out a new scene i'm pretty sure. but that was down in the east village, i think. >> rose: was that all improv cision. >> no, i think that was a written scene. so that was a written scene. what that scene shows is a good example of heightening the game. the scene starts with the astronaut ready to take off and the first thing he notices there's a robotic arm in the cockpit with him. and slowly but surely the two cape cause -- canaveral and houston started fighting. somebody probably wrote it up. >> rose: that happens a lot. >> it did back then. >> we used to tape all the shows and comb through them for ideas we could then turn to sketches. every so often you get one you can just about transcribe and then you know you really
improvised well. >> we were before the internet generation so you couldn't film stuff and then put it on youtube and people couldn't go and see what you were about. they had to come to your shows. so what's very sweet about that video is we recognize about the laughs of the eight people in the audiences because there was probably two sets of parents. >> rose: television goes in terms of prime time and then all kinds of other alternatives you suggest from netflix to lots of other things. television goes in terms of certain kind of a great period for drama and then sort of slow down and then you'll see the rise of comedy. where are we now if there's a kind of specular life. >> we're at a boom and content in general. so this i'll plug it again, also a commission of the show where we shoot the best material from our theatre. now everywhere in the country
you can see it. that's like an ultimate goal of ours. back in chicago, we used to joke we're going to have our own television station one day. kind of we do. >> rose: you can do that now. >> yeah, and you don't have to appeal to 30 million people anymore. >> you have the rough even, you see the stuff like it happens on stage which is little more radical and crazier and more experimental. >> you can do the exact comedy you want to do and appeal and only appeal to millions that can still be considered successful. >> one more about dale sitting here in front of me. guild know radner, john belushi, tina fey. this is really incredible history of comedy that he was part of. >> certainly. he was probably the most famous person in comedy that people don't know enough about.
he was very successful and hilarious people's teacher and mentor. >> rose: beyond being funny he was also a teacher. >> he was. >> primarily. >> rose: he was primarily a teacher. >> yeah. >> i know we all, we were in chicago at a time when chris farley had just kind of gone, left to go on to success and i arrived at second city with steve carell and stephen colbert on the main stage there and these guys were already performing and really successful team in chicago. and there was just a feeling that something was happening there. there was hope frankly put your time on stage get better take risks and get a job. we think that that feeling the still the same at ucb. >> rose: get better and get a job. >> do the are work. >> people always ask us you can't train someone to be funny but no doubt chris farley was
hilarious when he showed up a dell's door but he was also a force of nature that needs to be given a little direction. he really did have these techniques that you don't see just as an audience member. but in a class you're like oh yeah, if i do it this way it does work better. he taught us, because you can be funny within yourself but when you're working with someone else you need certain rules to be able to create something on the moment without a script. you can't just go out and everybody starts talking. >> the rules are great for writing too. the same rules used to impre-vise -- improvise are the same rules you go from here to there. any tv show or comedy you see there are those pattern. >> rose: thank you all for being here. >> thank you charlie. >> rose: my honor. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: samantha bee is here she served as a correspondent on
the daily show with jon stewart for 12 years. this year she became the host of her own late night series on pbs it is called full frontal with samantha bee. the new yorker writes that the show has a lash and burn slightly gonzo approach to political satire. she is the co-producer of the cbs sit conwhich employs her husband nathan jones. i'm please to do have span they bee at this table for the first time. >> thank you so much. i'm so excited to be here. >> rose: i love the idea. >> thank you. well we did, when we were coming up, when we were developing the show we definitely wanted the show to feel audacious. have that spirit. actually one of my best friends, alana harken who i did comedy with the producer of the show came up with the title. she just forwarded it to me via
text i knew. >> rose: full frontal. >> it's about an attitude about being open and being audacious, having a point of view that's obvious, being i guess being naked in a way just figuratively not literally. >> rose: what's interesting to me late night seems to be changing. for example you've gone from carson to letterman and leno which was stand up and conversations with some steps to fallon and what others are doing, what you're doing, what oliver's doing. somehow feels different. perhaps it's just of our time. >> i think, you know, within, there's a lot of late night shows but there is, you know, there is a diversity of style within a certain kind of format. there is people have their own, people do have their unique kind of, they have their take on that, that's for sure. >> rose: does everybody who was on the daily show think well sum day i'll have my own show. >> i don't think so.
i thought that for the most part. >> rose: you did. >> so many have. and do and are great at it. i don't think that everybody, i don't think that everybody thinks that. i don't think, you know, toward the end, like i love jon toward the end it was really a grind. you could feel the weight of all those years. it's not like he would think oh it's pure glory. >> rose: but it's also said and it's not a but that he was very nurturing, very, he was the first in, last guy out, was vention in a sense dedicated to the nuts and when both of the show. >> there was not, every moment of the show passed through his editorial voice there's no question. he was very the nuts and bolts of the show and for good reason. i totally get that. he was nurturing. i mean i think that he always encouraged me to dig deeper into my own point of view. and i think that was very important. >> rose: dig deep as your own uniqueness. >> dig deep into your uniqueness and find ways to push the humor
that are unexpected. >> rose: where do comic and comedians and comic actors come from. >> there's no question, there's no chance in hell that anybody who knows me from high school or even the early years of college would ever think oh you're a national born comedian you're going to go entertain, you're a fan of the stage you're going to stand in front of millions of people and just shout. i mean i think i was quiet and subversively humorous person, subversive that's a natural instinct. >> rose: that comes across, subversive. >> i'm also an only child and a lot of times we spend much times entertaining ourselves. >> rose: imagination grows and being coafortable with yourself too. >> there's nobody else to entertain. no friends. you stair out of your attic windows and read your lines and listen to your disco records. >> rose: what do you want this to be. first of all, it's one day a week. how hard can that be.
>> it's a breeze. what time do we take the show, 6:00 on monday. >> rose: five nights a week, colbert is five nights a week. >> yes, you know. it's all by design. we wobbled to do a show once a week. >> rose: is it different. >> it is different. it gives you, it's incredibly hard work. we're working, it's a whole time experience. >> rose: it's harder because you've got one time each week to make it happen. where we can be a little bit not as good today as we were yesterday and perhaps tomorrow better than. >> you can follow the news. you have a little bit, there's an immediacy of following the news more closely. what we have to do is sit back from the daily news and focus more on more of an, it's more of an analysis of the week that has passed. and what we think is coming in the future. so it does, it's actually freeing. we thought that it was going to be a hinderance when we were first putting the show together and we found out it was, we have
nothing to do with the scheduling of the show so when we learned that we were scheduled for mondays, we thought oh this is a tragedy, how are we going, how can you do a show at the beginning of a week, nothing's happened yet. but it actually gives you the freedom to sit back, watch the patterns, like watch the stories that are emerging in a more long term way. so it has actually what we thought was a huge, what we thought was a huge handicap is actually an asset. >> rose: it really is. >> when a week progresses you can see the turn of events it gives you. we don't have to do hot takes, do you know what i mean. we can sit back. we can reject stories that actually aren't fruitful for us. stories that have emerged and disappeared quickly. you can see those that's really helpful to us. and doing the show once a week gives me the freedom to do field pieces which i do love to go out in the world. >> rose: this is a great year to be in comedy. it keeps on giving. >> it's either a gift from jesus
or a gift from satan. we're trying to figure out who it's from. >> rose: but it is. the characters are so interesting. and they're all drown out in an interesting way. these are not button down people. >> no. >> rose: may be button town but we all know so much that is not button down. >> it's fascinating. we could not have asked for, when we were pitching this show to pbs and when you have all your documents about what you want the show to look like you could never have anticipated that the field would be what it was and that it has toned down to. >> rose: you are the executive producer. >> we're writing partners. >> rose: do you sit down and where write together. >> more specifically we actually bring two completely things to the table. he's a very big picture person. he's really great at kind of figuring out an overall art to something. an art to an episode, an art to
a season and i'm very surgical. i like to come in and really poke holes in all of the story d of like a great birds-eye view person and i'm more surgical so the two halves of the whole actually work really well together. working the detour and creating the detour was one of the happiest things. >> rose: is the skill you have writing. >> i don't know what it is. it's a little bit of -- >> rose: mind set in writing. >> i think mind set. i think you know as i recall my earlier years in theatre school, actually, as i reflect because i did go to theatre school at one point, i was always really good at making a performance of
pastiche and i think that continues. i think that making shows that i would want to watch is definitely something. >> rose: people watch the daily show and say i know her, i think i know her. comes away from what is clear e comedy is an insight into who she is. >> i think that, you can know me more from full frontal. i think that the attitude, i think that the passion is totally authentic to who i am. some people interpret it as anger. >> rose: it's slash and burn. >> a slash and burn which is not a reflection of who i am as a person. actually i'm a really low key person but i do achieve total catharsis. during that 21 minutes to get it right. >> rose: and get on with the search for some ... >> i think it's just meaning and
point of view. we're so about point of view with the show and about stating our point of view so firmly and forcefully i think that we just want to make a show that lives vigorous and visceral and have a saying. we want to make a show that we want to watch and i think that we have done that. >> rose: it seems to me the mistake people make all the time, they don't satisfy themselves. and they're basically saying who is the audience we're trying to satisfy the audience or trying to satisfy somebody other than who? >> well you know when you work in television for the most part there are a lot of masters, you know. there are a lot of people wrestling for control of your end product. lots and lots of voices. and i do think -- >> rose: you have that. >> we have the advantage of actually to be perfectly honest our network has given us the power and control. they understood this is not the type of show they ever made
before. and so they want to trust us. they trusted us to bring in a product that was strong and that had that point of view. >> rose: how do you see the show changing, evolving. >> that i don't know. >> rose: do more what you do i use i like doing what we're doing. i think we'll eventually work our way through this presidential election and then next year we'll have a president in place and we know who will have for four years and that will change the show. >> rose: the first female or the first whatever. >> or the first whatever. so i think it will evolve naturally. i don't really have an agenda for ourselves. certainly we enjoy what we're doing and we're so new at it, really. i think we'd like to enjoy it for a little while. >> rose: every article i read about you and there are lots of articles when you decide to do that this show whether the new yorker or the other publications they all ask this question.
did she want and should she have been considered for the daily show. >> right, right, right. i'm much happier doing this. i'm so happy to a -- >> rose: in the moment. >> in the moment, i mean i don't have any regret. it doesn't feel like, it didn't feel realistic to be honest and then pbs was there wanting really wanting me to do a show. >> rose: about somebody else's show. >> who can resist someone who really wants you. you know, that's an awfully delicious place to be. >> rose: the it is, it really is. >> very compelling. >> rose: people who don't appreciate that really need that lesson. if you really want to make somebody happy explain to them how much you want. >> it's a wonderful -- >> rose: and how happy they make you. >> to have been courted by pbs in the way they courted me it really was unique. >> rose: i didn't really care i didn't want it, i didn't need it, i didn't care about it.
>> listen if pbs hadn't been there it sure would have been a conversation, i don't know. i can't speak to what was going in their minds but i'm so happy, i so prefer to do my own thing. i so prefer it. it's so much better for me. i wouldn't be able to do the show, i don't believe that i would be able to do the show that i would want to do if i'm still there. because the operation is immense. it's the behemott. they have a strong previous license and they create a world for you that you wouldn't, they're just not wishy washy. i need to feel the presence of a strong creator in a show. those are the shows that i like. >> rose: because it's who you are want to have a sharper edge
than anybody out there. >> i don't think that's consciously -- >> rose: do you think that's a reality even. >> i do think that is happening. >> rose: i do too. >> i think that's happening absolutely but it's not a conscious. we don't come to work and go how can we be more sharp. >> rose: but you been come to work how can we be at were percent and what turns us on. how do we find ourselves in the most precise way. that's what the goal is. >> yes. >> rose: it's become as you said sharper and more of an edge than almost everybody out there. >> i think it's a really -- >> rose: being true to yourself. >> yes. i think we have a real edge to us. it comes out really naturally. there's just a flow to that. and i don't, we don't build the shows by comparison to any other show. we're only doing, we can't do it that way. we just have our heads down and our eyes forward. we're always looking in the purest clearest way to use and throw up to do on the show.
we don't care what anybody else is doing. i don't really read anything. >> rose: you don't read anything. >> i've only read -- >> rose: you should read it, it's good. >> i only read a couple reviews of the show really two or three maybe. i try to stay out it. >> rose: out of respect. >> the "new york times" we read because honestly we get it delivered in the morning and the section was on other outside. >> rose: i think you're somebody everybody was interested in because you had the role you had on the daily show. people were really interested. when you were on we loved it, we 's the truth.ore of you. and they want, all of a sudden you're getting a show. so people who want to find out more of you are now finding more about more of you. that's what happens. >> yes, it's great. it's great. i try to stay out of it. it's easy for me to stay out of it. i'm really disappointed about not reading about myself. >> rose: when you have a husband to put to work.
>> when i leave work and go home i am off duty. it is full scale parenting. >> rose: is there a sports fan at all, is jason. >> i'm not a sports fan. he's not a football person. we'll watch the olympics. we will watch simone biles for shire. >> rose: thank you for coming. great to you. >> this is so much fun, i love it. i love it here. >> rose: you have little place over there. let's a refrigerator over there. >> i'll be fine. >> rose: samantha bee full frontal. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: seth meyers is here. he ended his run as head writer and weekend update anchor on saturday night live. after 13 years on that program, he took over host of nbc late night in february 2014 he is the fourth person to helm that show
following david letterman, colon o'brien and jimmy fallon. i'm pleased to have seth meyers back at this table. >> thank you. >> rose: how has this changed since you began. >> we made a choice i guess almost two months ago now to start the show behind the desk. that was probably one of the bigger cosmetic changes we made. >> rose: is that your instinct or producer instinct. you think like a producer don't you. >> i think based on my role at snl i learned prehistoric skills. we were talking about ways i think even though these are year round shows you think of the fall as the new tv season and we're wondering is there any way we could shake up the waive we present ourselves. one thing i always felt doing my show i always felt when i was doing the monologue i was the warm-up comedian and now the show starts when it starts which i really like. >> rose: do you come out and see the audience before the show. >> i do. i like to come out and say hi to the audience not only to make them feel more comfortable but that's when i get a good sense
what the house is like that night. >> rose: it varies night to night. >> yes, it varies night to night. if it's a brutally cold day in august people are in a bad mood or if it's a sunny day in february they're in good mood. since we don't have any windows i don't know what the weather is. >> rose: you have one or two people you might not expect they might have influence with the crowd and how the crowd reacts. if they're loud or enthusiastic the crowd will be more enthusiastic than normal. >> of course. and an enthusiastic crowds gives you a little bit more license to have fun in those moments between the jokes. if you get a long tail of laughter that's when you can sort of go a little bit off script. if they're laughing is and cutting it off cold you get a sense to keep this thing moving. >> rose: it changes than sitting behind the desk. >> just getting better. a lot of the staff we hired was their first job in television. we liked that idea. i learned that's really nice to hire people who don't know how
to do these things and then you get to teach them the way you want to teach them. nobody has bad habits. everybody's sort of gotten better as we do it. is luxury of these shows you can do one every night so the learning curve. >> rose: it's the best thing about television. >> it's the best. >> rose: i can't imagine people to do something like once or twice a year. >> yes. >> rose: because if it goes wrong your year is wasted. if it's not quite perfect for me today there is tomorrow. >> right. being less precious about it. and then that again just when i feel like people are watching 12:30 at night you want to see somebody's comfortable when the joke's going well they want to see them comfortable when the joke's going badly. one of the things i hammer myself the first six months i was doing the show was not just to sweat a bad joke or piece of comedy. >> rose: you knew that didn't you. >> you know as much as you know and then doing it, it's so funny. you theorize what it's like to do a late night show and until you actually get out there and
you're road testing you how you actually process it. >> rose: do you watch other shows. >> i only watch stuff that sort of gets picked up viously when new people start i'm always curious how they're doing their shows. i was excited for stephen as i was for trevor and enjoy watching how they're doing. and reality sets in when you put together a late night show you don't have time to watch other late night shows. >> rose: do you have any regrets about leaving snl to go here. >> no. i mean afirst -- >> rose: you knew snl was an institution and you followed a rather remarkable group of people. >> you know the nice thing was i also doing the weekend update i followed remarkable people as well. so i at least knew it's possible and one of the ways it's possible if you try not to think too hard about the footsteps you're following in. but yes, i was really sad at snl but i was also reaching the point where i was the oldest guy in the room as far as the staff
and the cast. >> rose: could you do both. >> no i don't think you could do both. it's full time. if anything, you know i wish i had more time to work on my show as opposed to that i wish i was split somewhere else. >> rose: what would you do with more time i i wish i could get in at 5:00 in the morning. we start at 89:00 in the morning because that's ultimately the amount of sleep you need to function. you always want two or three more hours especially when you're writing something day of whether it's a store that broke that night or something that broke that day just the logistics of pulling together the clips. >> rose: you have a great gift for in addition we know you were head of the snl writers. >> yes. >> rose: so you understand stand up comedy you understand skit comedy, you understand jokes and all of that. is that a learned skill or is that something that's mostly you're funny or you're not funny. >> you're funny or not funny bt with any talent you have to refine it. i don't think anyone who is born and has the equal opportunity to
be an nfl quarterback like you need to have some stuff. the funny thing about comedy though is you know, look i've been writing it for my entire professional life. and we're into the second decade of doing it and to some degree like you're constantly blown away by how little you still know. like how wrong you can be with a piece of comedy or a comic choice. you bring out a joke that you're sure is going to work. >> rose: does it happen every night. >> to some degree it happens every week but it is the part. >> rose: it's most likely something didn't work or worked or something that went through the roof. >> it's the other way. that's what is the flame that draws comedy writers is it is like an a, you can never crack it completely. you just always trying to get better and better at doing comedy. >> rose: you get better and better by doing it just sort of -- >> that i think is again at some
point you can't be influenced by things as much as you were when you were young. you're always very lucky my parents introduced me to monty python, snl to richard pryor. they did not wait until it was age appropriate to introduce it to us. >> rose: because they enjoyed comedy. >> they enjoyed comedy but i said this before my mother's a very beautiful woman and my dad as very funny man and my brother and i learned at a young age. >> rose: you were attracted to the man because he was funny. >> you can try to be funnier. >> rose: and you get less handsome as you get older but you get less funny. >> yes. old guys can be very funny. probably the very funniest. >> rose: did you go to
amsterdam after college. >> yes. some guys in chicago went to amsterdam, they were a few years older than me and they started a second city of amsterdam called d additions in chicago sothey right after i graduated from college, we saw an addition notice and i went and auditioned. >> i think the audience can tell if something's not genuine that the host doesn't believe in. you have to be true to your own sense of humor. >> rose: you have to be authentic. >> you have to be authentic. people are really hip to stuff that's authentic versus inauthentic. it's amazing when i run into the younger generation it's not the comedy of today they're self
educating their self on the internet and watching stuff i grew up with. what my parents passed to me i couldn't go watch your show of shows when i was watching snl. >> rose: that means what to you. >> well loren brought me into show business. that's the first thing. he plucked me out of relative animosity. and the question is what was he doing. nobody ever asked loren that. but no, you know and then he was patient with me because i wasn't, i'm willing to be the first to admit that i wasn't a great cast member at snl. i really only started adding value commensurate with my pay when loren made me a right and left me do weekend up date. if he had been less patient he could have moved on and the show would have been worse for it. >> rose: he gave you a chance to be where you are now. >> yes. again when i think back to the doubts and fears, i feel are consistent with the doubts and
fears when people have on snl with loren calling me up saying i think you would be good at late night host. >> rose: when you see politician and other people reasonably good at having done a good round of humor or comedy in a speech, it used to be thought that obama for example would reach out to the daily show or to saturday night live. does that happen a lot that politicians and people with a fat pocketbook can reach out and get you and others when you're a writer only to do comedy for them. >> you know i think when you're a president you can probably reach out and to jokes but below that. >> rose: you wrote that one. >> exactly. beyond that i feel like we're all sort of two busy to overcommit to those other things. but i think famously obama has had some like very high end write jokes for him and i get it. >> rose: what's your day like
before we go. you're in there about 9:00-9:30. you have a meeting at 10:00-10:30. >> yes some writers will e-mail the night before to sort of -- >> rose: like categories. >> like is there anything going on that's going to be something that will be better tomorrow than any other day something really timely because timely is important for the show as well because these shows don't age particularly well. like i don't think anybody goes back and binges oh i missed june. >> rose: it doesn't work. >> we try to do that. and then over the course of the first two hours it's talking with the writers and try to recognize those things and around 11:00 we start reading through written pieces both for that day's show and the rest of the week. >> rose: again blocking at what time. >> we go down to the theatre at around the studio i should say around 4:00 in the afternoon. >> rose: and you run through it once. >> yes, we run through it once. >> rose: the whole show. >> yes but ultimately so much of the show is interviews you don't have to run through that.
we run through the comedy and that takes about 30, 40 minutes. >> rose: you're still cutting and editing. >> you're always tweaking. we always like add three jokes right before the show because the writers do, the monologue writers are taking one last mass and it's kind of fun to be honest to walk out knowing there are going to be three, the very first time you say them are going to be in front of an audience. >> rose: this is a stupid question but i'm genuinely interested. is there a secret to writing great monologue jokes. >> i think there is but if there is, i don't know what it is. you know, we brought, the one person i poached from snl when loren gave me this job he said you can't take alex ba. i said no he's the one person i have to take. >> rose: he had a reason. >> yes. so i went to alex and said you know i would love for you to come with me on this because i truly believe he's the best joke writer. >> rose: who was the best joke right working today.
>> alex baze. and he just was an incredibly good joke writer. tell baze's page because he uses less words than everybody else. there's something, jerry seinfeld always talked about he's driving sports cars because there's not a wasted sort of inch on thinks sports cars behave you to move fast by a little engineering. you know how baze writes jokes as well. when i worked at snl even when i was doing updates i would get a joke but i was a far better sketch writer. i needed the space of a sketch and the value of characters and performance. >> rose: congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> rose: nice to see you. >> great to he you as well. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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