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Seth Meyers brings the laughs at Stepan

Sam Stryker | Sunday, September 9, 2012


On a weekend when America’s favorite wedding crashers visited campus, one comic talent stood out as the funniest man in South Bend: Seth Meyers.


Not even the presence of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn at Saturday’s football game could overshadow the fact that the head writer of “Saturday Night Live” brought down the house at the Stepan Center on Friday night. With a standing-room-only crowd of 2,100 in the geodesic dome, and 3,000 watching on a screen outside, the event marks the largest in the Student Union Board’s (SUB) history.


Luckily for students in attendance, Meyers did not disappoint. Walking out to cheers of “Seth, Seth, Seth,” the “Weekend Update” host started the show off by sharing memories of a previous visit to Notre Dame, when he attended a game as a Northwestern undergrad.


From there, Meyers launched into an hour-long set, touching upon personal experiences, everyday observations and pop-cultural references. Everyone and everything was fair game for the target of his humor, from Greece and their “yogurt-based economy” to girls with cameras. 


“They all need the same picture on their camera,” Meyers said. “One day, God willing, technology will advance to the point where we can email each other our photos.” True that, Seth Meyers.


Some of Meyers’ strongest material dealt with personal experiences. He reminisced about his time living abroad in Amsterdam, poking fun at the assumed motivation for such a move. 


“It’s not why you think,” he said. “The reason I lived in Amsterdam for two years is because weed is legal there.” 


Red-light-district-based humor aside, Meyers moved on to some hilarious Owen Wilson and Matthew McConaughey impersonations when describing his cannabis-fueled hijinks in the Dutch city, and hit the nail on the head when he described students returning from Europe as the most-hated, most-obnoxious people on campus. For those juniors who decide not to leave the cultural hotbed of South Bend during their junior year, this joke rung especially true.


Meyers’ other European-related humor was also on the mark. Meyers commented on the European economic crisis and the discord between the Old World countries. 


“I can’t make dinner plans with three friends,” Meyers said. “Think of how hard it would be [to solve problems] if you all didn’t speak the same language and all your grandparents killed each other during World War II.”


As head writer at “SNL,” Meyers is gearing up for an election year featuring a set of four candidates ripe with comic potential. Meyers made a Freudian slip as he shifted to presidential humor – accidentally switching one letter in “election,” saying a very un-Catholic word that left the audience in stitches – and joked about how dogs seem to be at the center of each candidate’s image problems, with Romney strapping his pooch to the roof of his car on a family road trip in the 1980s, and Obama eating man’s best friend in his time abroad in his youth.


But the highlight of Meyers’ current events material was based on his experience as the host of the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011. Meyers’ made some self-deprecating jokes about a botched handshake with President Obama, and also highlighted how he made fun of Donald Trump, much to “The Apprentice” host and real estate mogul’s disdain.


“Donald Trump said if he runs for president, it will be as a Republican, which is funny, because I just assumed he would be running as a joke,” Meyers quipped. 


The best material of this segment of Meyers’ set was his commentary on SEAL Team 6’s mission against Osama bin Laden. The terrorist happened to be killed the day after Meyers hosted the press dinner. The comic noted “almost everyone” was excited about bin Laden’s death – except himself. Meyers joked that the day after he hosted the dinner, he thought he had done such a good job he would be on the news as the lead story the following Monday. 


“My theory is this,” Meyers said. “Obama also told some jokes that night. He was funny, but I was a little bit funnier. I think he went back to the White House in a bad mood. I think he went to the Situation Room and got his staff together and was like, ‘Seth Meyers has the focus. We have to do something to get the focus back. Any ideas?’ And someone was like, ‘We can kill bin Laden,’ and Obama was like ‘Do it.'”


From start to finish, Meyers had the audience bent over with bellyaching laughter. Meyers even excelled in delving into topics most goody-two-shoes Notre Dame students would not normally find appealing – including pornography, gay jokes and the aforementioned marijuana humor – although the laughter was cautious for this material, something Meyers picked up on and teased the Notre Dame students for.


Meyers closed the show with some “Weekend Update” jokes that didn’t make it past television censors. This was met with raucous applause.


From start to finish, Meyers aced the show. The “Comedy on the Quad” event has featured lesser names in the past such as Gabriel Iglesias and Judah Friedlander, and as such the “SNL” cast member was a breath of fresh air and a total success. If the maxim that laughter is the best medicine has any truth to it, all the maladies of Notre Dame students were cured Friday evening.

Contact Sam Stryker at [email protected]