Congratulations, Florida. No longer will your Jewish grandmothers, your hanging, dimpled, or pregnant chads, your alligator-riddled highways be the butt of every comedian's joke. From here on out, you will be known as the state of nude zombie face-eaters.
Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live writer Colin Jost both made reference to this odd man-on-man news story onstage last night at Seminole Coconut Creek Casino. Meyers, an improv veteran and longtime SNL cast member, is undeniably smart, but the thing about him is that his intelligence doesn't make you feel dumb. He doesn't ridicule you for holding on to beliefs that aren't his own. He doesn't make you feel uncomfortable by joking about easy, controversial topics. And he certainly wasn't above a good fart joke.
That's not to say, however, that Seth Meyers is the Joe the Plumber of comedians. His style of comedy is a bit more Larry David than Larry the Cable Guy. So, last night, when he tried to joke about doing everyday "regular guy" kind of stuff, it was almost hard to believe him. Because when you think about how much work must go into being the head writer for Saturday Night Live, it's difficult to imagine he has time for anything else. Sure, he can joke about getting his ass whooped by a 12-year-old on Xbox Live, but he's in charge of running one of the most demanding shows on television. You think he has time to play videogames? Really?
This is likely why Meyers was at his funniest when he stuck to what he knows best: politics. Meyers is, after all, the host of Weekend Update, and so it was only natural for him to include some of his trademark political comedy in his routine. This year's Republican presidential candidates were fodder for some of the show's best material, and it was fun to hear him reminisce about how much he'll miss that motley crew.
Of course, as a host at both the ESPYs and the White House Correspondents Dinner, it would be impossible for Meyers not to mention his celebrity status. We are, after all, talking about one of the most recognizable faces in comedy today, a man who was recently rumored to replace Regis Philbin as the host of Live! (For the record, he won't be.) But when Meyers talked about his celebrity, it was as if it was talking about a suit that didn't quite fit.
It was obvious from his jokes that he was still uncomfortable in his "famous person" skin. That's why, in his story about meeting President Obama for the first time, he made sure to mention how he butchered the handshake and turned the whole thing into an awkward mess. And when he recounted the time he was recognized on the street (by a man yelling "Oh my God!"), he made sure to mention that the man was actually yelling at a woman across the street -- who was getting hit by a car.
But if there is anything Meyers is comfortable doing, it's hosting Weekend Update. And he delivered in this department in a huge way, ending his set with a series of Weekend Update jokes that, as he explained it, were too dirty to make it on to the live broadcast.
To heighten the effect, he read these jokes from a handful of notecards, with the same mocking, incredulous tone he uses on SNL. This rant hit on all the usual suspects -- Paris Hilton and Sarah Palin are easy targets -- but it also touched on some of the lesser-known stories, like the German man without arms who was arrested for trying to steal a TV ("he was caught 'unarmed'"), and the 3-year-old boy who was lost in the Amazon rainforest for 11 days, then found ("by tigers"), and even the lesbian couple who were kicked out of an IHOP for kissing ("though it's not going to stop them from eating out").
This last part of the show, quite predictably, had everyone laughing the hardest. Meyers has his schtick down to a science. There's a delicate balance of political commentary and potty humor that connects with nearly everyone. When you strip away the crooked politicians and wackjob celebrities -- Meyers is talking about the awkwardness of everyday life. And everyone's familiar with that.