The election of Donald Trump has upended much of the media and entertainment industry and it was no different for “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, who said he had to hire more researchers to help him put on his nightly NBC show.
“We started doing these longer form pieces, our ‘Closer Look,’ which we do multiple times a week… The position that was understaffed was just researchers, people who sort of pull video clips from networks like – sorry they make me do this – CNN,” Seth Meyers told CNN’s Jake Tapper at Thursday’s “Citizen by CNN” event in Manhattan. “That was a job we didn’t have.”
“A Closer Look” is a longform segment on “Late Night” that takes a deeper dive into a political story in the news. The videos posted on YouTube have racked up more than 11 million views.
Meyers, who has had a long history of mocking Trump, going back to the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, said that the Trump presidency didn’t just change late night TV.
“It’s changed the game everywhere, right?” Meyers said to Tapper. “It’s a game changer.”
But at his own show specifically, the breakneck pace at which news is pouring out of the White House has prompted Meyers and his staff to constantly adjust plans in real-time. “Late Night” tapes in the early evening in New York City and airs at night.
“The craziest was we did a piece once, we tape at 6:30, that was basically, ‘who is Mike Flynn?’ and by the time it aired at 12:30, he’d been fired,” Meyers said about the retired lieutenant general and convicted felon who briefly served as National Security Adviser to President Trump.
Meyers said that when he took over the NBC late show in 2014 his biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be enough news to fill the show’s hour long run time.
“That’s not a fear anymore. I’m never like, ‘oh my gosh, I hope something happens today,” Meyers said. “It’s also weird like I’m here in the morning, right? I’ve got a show tonight. You could also say, ‘hey, shouldn’t you be at work right now?’ I’m betting what we’re talking about tonight hasn’t even happened yet.”
Meyers has an upcoming Netflix stand up comedy special that will touch on Trump, but is more focused on his life and family.
“There’s not a lot of politics in it. There’s some because I didn’t want to do a special in 2019 and then years later have people say, ‘hey, wasn’t that when Donald Trump was president? You never mentioned him,’” Meyers said. “But at the same time it’s way more of a special about my family and things like that. It’s refreshing to take a break from the politics.”
Tapper then mentioned that Meyers has two little boys at home.
“Yeah, three and a half and one and a half,” Meyers said of his sons. “Both hardcore Republicans.”