Under host Seth Meyers, NBC's Late Night has become a machine, quickly processing news from the day before a taping and delivering sharp, insightful comedy. Late Night's turnaround has become especially impressive when the news involves President Trump, of whom Seth Meyers is one of television's most vocal critics. When news broke about Harvey Weinstein's many sexual harassment accusations last Thursday, however, Late Night offered no response until the following Monday. Weinstein was a generous supporter of liberal ideals and personally knew many Hollywood figures, which has led conservatives to accuse Meyers and other late night hosts of waiting too long before condemning their "liberal ally."
You know, it happened on Thursday, and we only had a show on Thursday [before Monday]. And I was not prepared to talk about something as tricky as sexual assault in a way that I felt would be appropriate that quickly. I felt we responded to it as fast as we respond to anything else.
Meyers' show, like many late-night programs, often airs re-runs on Fridays, and it's true that the Weinstein news broke only a couple hours before the Thursday taping. So while a short statement might have been possible, it's unlikely Meyers could have prepared a full response. During his interview, he also addressed why he felt a full segment would be the best way to go:
If it's something you can make a quick joke about, we try to fit it in. But when we do things like [the segment] 'A Closer Look,' part of, I think, what makes them effective is we really try to explain an issue. So more often than not, because we have a show tomorrow, if we feel like it's an issue that deserves a little bit of patience and observation to make sure we have a take that will not feel weird the next day, we try to just pass it off to that. We feel like our audience now has an expectation that if something big happens, if we don't get to it, because again, they're watching it at one in the morning or 12:30, I think if they don't see it, they know it will happen tomorrow.
We spent a lot of time talking about how to address it. We're really lucky to have a diverse staff. It felt like we knew we could have a unique take if we had them do it. And it wasn't as if we only had women work on the piece. We had our male writers work on it as well. Hopefully we came up with something that addressed a really tricky issue.
What are you afraid of Seth? Getting a little too hot & close to home?— Donna J (@djrusty813) October 13, 2017