Why Seth Meyers Might Be the Real Heir to Jon Stewart

Why Seth Meyers Might Be the Real Heir to Jon Stewart 1

Seth Meyers took over the NBC late late-night spot from his Saturday Night Live buddy Jimmy Fallon over a year and a half ago. And while Meyers has proved himself to be a charming presence behind the desk, he has yet to truly establish a recognizable brand that would make him stand out from the late-night crowd. But with a lengthy examination of the recent congressional circus around defunding Planned Parenthood, Meyers took a step towards being one of the more political hosts in late night. And that’s not a bad thing.

With the recent addition of the politically minded Stephen Colbert over on CBS, the network late-night lineup has been more politically focused. This is, after all, an election year. But while Colbert has been praised for bringing “civility” or neutrality to his interviews with political candidates, Seth Meyers pulled no punches in going for the conservative jugular in his lengthy segment. Breaking down the absurdities of recent congressional hearings, the inaccuracies of since-debunked charts, and the hypocrisies of certain G.O.P. candidates, Meyers makes no attempt to hide his viewpoint on the subject of Planned Parenthood. The feature may have smacked a bit of Meyers erstwhile “Really?!?” segments with Amy Poehler from his days behind the Weekend Update desk, but the seven-minute segment came across less like an S.N.L.-ready gag and more like one of John Oliver’s well-reported pieces on Last Week Tonight.

In fact, in focusing primarily on the issue of Planned Parenthood and less on the spectacle that is Donald Trump, Meyers was following the advice Oliver gave Colbert the very same night over on CBS. After saying he didn’t care about Trump at all, Oliver said we’d all be better served talking about the issues rather than the cult of personality that dogs leading candidates like Trump and Clinton. “There are plenty of problems in the world that they might want to talk about instead of themselves,” Oliver advised. Colbert jokingly responded, “They’re sad, though, John, meanwhile . . . his hair!” Colbert and Oliver went on to discuss Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart’s actual heir over on The Daily Show. Both Daily Show alums praised Noah but Oliver admitted the younger comedian was “taking on the impossible” because “you can’t replace the irreplaceable.”

Noah did his level best to replace Stewart when he took on his first political interviewee Wednesday night in New Jersey governor Chris Christie.. Noah held Christie’s feet to the fire a bit, grilling the governor on his immigration plan and what the interview may have lacked in Stewart’s well-honed polish, it more than made up for in the “global” perspective South African–born Noah is famously bringing to the show. “Oh this is personal,” Noah joked as Christie made a crack about deporting the new Daily Show host.