LOS ANGELES — Seth Meyers regularly blends bad news with comedy on his nightly talk show, but as the host of Sunday’s Golden Globes, he has the unenviable task of setting the tone for Hollywood’s awards season as the sexual harassment crisis continues spreading throughout the industry and beyond.
Meyers signed on for the job after the scandal broke in the fall, so he knew what he was getting into.
“And my first instinct was, ‘Oh this is probably not the most fun year to do this,'” he said.
But the creative team at “Late Night with Seth Meyers” excels at addressing current events with humor and accuracy, he said, and they’re working with him to write material for the Globes.
The 45-year-old comedian talked with The Associated Press about how he’s preparing to strike the ultimate balance between celebratory and serious at the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on NBC.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: How do you balance tough subjects with the need to be funny and light?
Meyers: That’s, I think, the conversation we will continue to focus in on as we get closer. We don’t want this night to be a session where we’re just scolding everything that happened, because it is really important for us to remember that great movies came out of this year; great television shows came out of this year. A lot of people worked really hard. A lot of people, we’re realizing, worked really hard in environments that were not that conducive to working really hard. So the goal is to have people have a wonderful night and an enjoyable party in a year which everyone deserves it.
AP: Is writing jokes a way of decompressing from the news?
Meyers: I’ve found the news harder on our hiatuses than it is on show weeks. There’s something very cathartic about processing the news stories through our system here, where you write jokes about it and talk about it with people who make you laugh, and that is just a healthier way of dealing with it… I think that’s part of what we’ll be trying to do at the Globes, is: Hey, ideally we wouldn’t be talking about this stuff, but hopefully we can talk about it in a way that will make us feel better about it as opposed to reminding us how terrible it all was, is, continues to be.
AP: Is it helpful to watch past Globes shows?
Meyers: I pitched in jokes when Amy (Poehler) and Tina (Fey) hosted, so I was backstage for those three years. I will certainly go back and revisit their monologues, because I felt as though they were as good as they get. And I think the same can be said for what Ricky (Gervais) did for the show, because I don’t think the show was even perceived this way until he took it over. So I think going back and watching those three hosts will be probably about all the education we’ll need.
AP: How do you find time to watch all the nominated movies and TV shows?
Meyers: It’s pretty great, because now we have a 20-month-old and another on the way, and I’m just so looking forward to telling my pregnant wife that I have to go watch these movies for work.
AP: Do you have any rituals to calm your nerves before hosting a big show like this?
Meyers: There is alcohol on the premises, which is great. Usually I have to sneak it in. And it helps — you know, I’ve presented a couple times at the Globes, and one of the things that I do like about the Globes versus, say, the Emmys, is it’s just such a shorter walk from the wings to the microphone. That is really important, because that long walk when people are watching you and you have a very long way to the microphone, that’s when I feel like self-doubt really has a time to fester.
AP: What are you most looking forward to about hosting the Golden Globes?
Meyers: I imagine we’ll go out afterward, so I’m kind of looking forward to that part.
AP: You’re looking forward to being done?
Meyers: Yeah. I think being done will be awesome. No, I like telling jokes, and ultimately, when someone like me ends up doing something like this, all I can pretty much bring to it is jokes. I have so few other skills. There won’t be a big number; there won’t be any singing or dancing. So I will say it is nice to know it’ll only be as good as the jokes.
SANDY COHEN, Associated Press Entertainment Writer