Live Review: Seth Meyers at Just for Laughs
"I'm a Chicago native and a graduate of Northwestern University," SNL's Seth Meyers announced at the top of his set Saturday night at the Vic Theatre to wild applause. "I had an apartment at Armitage and Sheffield and even though I moved away 13 years ago, I keep it just in case I decide to run for office." That was the joke that kicked off an hour of stand-up from Meyers, a guy not normally known for manning the mic, as part of this year's Just for Laughs Chicago festival.
Fresh from zinging President Obama and Donald Trump at this year's White House Correspondent's Dinner, Meyers is at the top of his game. He used his swipe at Emanuel as a seque into a barrage of political jokes that dominated the top of his set. "Chicago-style politics is like Chicago-style pizza," he quipped. "It sounds like a good idea but three slices in you're like, 'Oh no.'" Meyers also took aim at Blago, Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger noting that Arnold's affair with the housekeeper started around the time he played Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. "I'll bet if he could go back in time and change one thing, it wouldn't be the affair, it would be appearing in that awful movie," Meyers joked.
But the political jokes were too short. Mostly, Meyers delivered a traditional stand-up routine, mining stories from his own life like studying abroad in college, seeking out pornography before the age of the Internet and New York real estate. Meyers possesses competent and fluid punchline delivery, no doubt honed and fine tuned by delivering countless one-liners at Weekend Update, but I found myself yearning for him to ditch the Twilight material and get back to the political jokes.
Fortunately, he topped of the set with a delicious surprise. He read aloud jokes from Weekend Update deemed too controversial for television. I tried to scribble as many as I could so forgive my paraphrasing here.
#1: "Sarah Palin was criticized for using $21,000 in taxpayer money to shuttle her kids around with her to events in Alaska. In fairness to Governor Palin, when she leaves them home alone they get pregnant."
#2: "A woman on the Tyra Banks show revealed she had two vaginas. But after too many margaritas, don't they all?"
#3: "A boy lost in the Amazon was found after four days. Unfortunately, he was found by tigers."
#4: "A local restaurant stirred controversy when it asked two gay women to leave because they were kissing in the restaurant. Said the two women, 'That's not going to stop us from eating out.'"
All in all, this was a fine evening by an entertainer on his way to proving his shelf life will extend beyond network television. And while I was admittedly craving more political satire, I certainly laughed more at the Vic Saturday night then I would have if I'd stayed home and tuned in to NBC at 10:30pm.