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SNL comedian muses on college, pop culture

Sarah Skillen | Monday, September 3, 2007

South Quad served Friday night as a comedic stage for Seth Meyers, a skit actor and contributing writer for the television show Saturday Night Live (SNL). The Student Activities Office (SAO) brought the television personality to campus after the Student Union Board got some of Meyer’s fellow SNL castmates to speak in a popular lecture series last semester.

“I thought he was hysterical,” sophomore Margaret Burke said. “His randomness was great and how he got involved with the crowd. … I just love comedy, so it was great.”

Touching on everything from a Frenchman’s lovemaking skills on a futon to the origins of the Fighting Irish’s name, Meyers tied his humor to college-related topics.

The comedian interacted with audience members by drawing from his own college experience at Northwestern University to reflect on the lives of students – but he emphasized his added insight into the Midwestern college experience.

“I do a lot of colleges, but it was a lot of fun to come back to a school that I have a connection to,” he said. “I am super psyched about the football game tomorrow.”

In his discussion of Notre Dame in particular, Meyers noted Touchdown Jesus and the fear outside teams must have coming into the University, as Jesus wants the Irish to win, he said.

He also said that during his years at Northwestern, he enjoyed games against Notre Dame because this university was always polite – and because Jesus was watching.

Meyers’ performance was also laced with references to pop culture, including Ashlee Simpson and her infamous SNL jig and the Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal. He also took time out to discuss the insect population at Notre Dame.

“The bugs were free comedy,” Meyers said.

The outdoor comedy show provided a new experience for many of the freshman students, who got their first taste of the type of events planned by the SAO.

But the night was, in many ways, a new experience for the performer himself.

“I rarely perform outside,” Meyers said. “It’s a little harder to tell how it’s going, but it was a beautiful night, so it was great.”

Meyers stars on SNL’s various skits and is one of two anchors on the recurring “Weekend Update” bit. He said he draws from his daily life for material for the show.

“The longer you are in comedy, the more you realize it’s all about noticing what’s going on around you and drawing from that,” he said. “The more you try to write jokes, the harder it gets.”

As part of his unintended routine, Meyers scanned and evaluated his audience, determining that freshmen and sophomores were O.K,, juniors were cocky and seniors were “reformed juniors.” He also expressed his sympathy for graduate students, saying they are the students who, after four years of college, are still afraid to go out into the real world.

“I think he was really awesome,” freshman Claire Brown said. “I don’t watch SNL all that much, and I was really impressed by how funny he was. I might just start watching now.”