Expect plenty of Trump jokes and a nod to Hollywood's harassment scandal when NBC's Late Night host Seth Meyers takes his first turn as emcee of the Golden Globe Awards (Sunday, 8 ET/5 PT). Excerpts from his post-Christmas phone chat with USA TODAY, from his in-laws' home in New Mexico:
You've hosted the Emmys, the ESPYs and the White House Correspondents Dinner. What makes the Globes gig challenging or different?
At its core, it’s the most fun, the loosest of the awards shows. Having watched Tina (Fey) and Amy (Poehler) do it, and the joy they brought to it, you can see how it has a uniqueness. The thing I like the most about it is that the stage is small. Because the great difficulty of most awards shows is how gigantic the stage is, and how long the walk is from when you get introduced to when you hit your mark. There’s no time self-doubt creeps in more than the long walk from name to first joke.
How are you preparing?
Writing a ton of jokes. There’s no big (performance) numbers, historically pre-tapes aren’t a big part of it. And because we got asked late to do this, we didn’t really have time to even think about or entertain those things, so it’s great that it’s a show that doesn’t need it and can just be about jokes. Our plan is to just front-load it into a monologue, and you probably won’t ever see me again.
The sexual harassment scandals are still in the news, and you will be the first major awards-show host to tackle it. Is there a line you won't cross?
We’re certainly not going to ignore it, but we want to talk about it in a way that’s cathartic, as opposed to reminding us all how awful it is. That’s the tone we’re certainly trying to strike, which is to release the pressure rather than build it up.
What did you learn from watching former hosts like Ricky Gervais and Tina and Amy? Can you be as mean as Ricky?
Ricky cultivated a career where that made perfect sense for him. It was a great credit to him that he got away with it to the degree he did. Ricky deserves a ton of credit for being the guy who made it a show that had a host (in 2010). It’s hard now to imagine what the Globes were like before Ricky. He started it, and Amy and Tina continued it. This is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it a nice, fun way to start off awards season.
Who would you give the award to for best TV show or movie?
People don’t want to know the host has a rooting interest for one show over the other. (But) Fargo’s a great show, I really enjoyed that. Better Call Saul. Search Party is a really cool show. I super-dug Lady Bird. I loved Get Out, that was one of the coolest movies of the year. I’m still working through my screeners, so don’t take absence of a movie as judgment.
You're expecting a second boy this spring. How are you feeling about that?
The pregnancy is a little more arduous for my wife (Alexi). But every day she sees the baby and knows what the payoff is, so it’s easier to get through. We took our son (Ashe, 21 months old) on his first trip to the zoo yesterday: Outstanding. I'm so excited, mostly just because my relationship with my brother (Josh) is as strong a thing as I have in my life, so I’m so excited for not only Ashe to have that but for whomever comes to have Ashe.
Has Trump fatigue set in on 'Late Night'?
If our goal every day was, ‘Here’s what we don’t like about Trump,’ fatigue would have set in. Our approach is, ‘Here’s what Trump did today. Here are the consequences.' We try very hard to move on with him. But I think it’s as fatiguing for us as it is for him. We just golf less to get through it.
Who are your favorite political guests on 'Late Night'?
Ted Cruz was a real interesting person to talk to. He’s a smart person who is very good at being argumentative. And it’s fun now and then to be argumentative with someone, because by nature that’s not how talk shows work. (Former Massachusetts congressman) Barney Frank is always a blast. People who are out of politics are a blast, because they’re kind of burning it all down.
Will you ever stand up again for your opening monologue, or is that just for awards nights?
That ship has sailed. Maybe once a year, as a treat, I’ll tweet out a photo of my legs, so they can relive the glory days.