Everyone must have seen it coming. Seth Meyers has too much talent and likability to have stayed behind the “Weekend Update” desk forever. Still, as Meyers waved goodbye and Governor David Patterson stopped by once more, a certain emptiness set in. I hope this feeling was simply my own creation, but I fear the show felt it too. Armed with rising stars like Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong, and Kate McKinnon, SNL seems to have hope for the future, but what will this transition period bring?
The empty slot for the show’s March 1st return reflects the uncertainty surrounding its plans for the imminent future. Head writer Colin Jost seems like a solid replacement for Meyers, with a similar arsenal of wit and heady sarcasm, but can the show maintain what has been a steady improvement over the course of the season?
Even last night, the show came out with energy and inventiveness, with Pharoah leading a fantastic Black History Month jam and Melissa McCarthy birthing the phrase, “I was born ready, and VERY EARLY.” Weekend Update proved predictably emotional, with Stefon showing up alongside Amy Poehler and an absent-minded Andy Samberg. Meyers gave a heartfelt farewell, but as he rushed through his speech and the commercial break rushed up to meet him, it felt inconsequential, far less than he deserved. Meyers has worked as much of his magic behind the scenes as on “Update,” and just as he often triumphed without showing his face, he left without enough recognition, rushed and obscured (by Fred Armisen’s face).
The show fizzled post-Update as it often does, and now we can only hope it doesn’t do the same post-Meyers altogether. Jost will probably not be Meyers, so look elsewhere. Look to the young stars to take the reins, for better or for worse. At a major turning point for the television staple, we have to hope some of these role players are now Ready for Primetime.