As Seth Meyers prepares to take the reins at Late Night on Feb. 24, his writers have been working tirelessly to define the Saturday Night Live veteran’s 12:35 a.m. brand.
At the forefront of that is head writer and producer Alex Baze, who has ample experience working with Meyers as a former writer and producer for SNL‘s “Weekend Update.” He has spent recent months filling out the staff, which is heavy on writers with improv backgrounds.
“You’re writing for a writer who is, by most accounts, better than you,” Baze tells The Hollywood Reporter of the advice he gave to the other 11 members of the staff. “You don’t have to worry, he’s going to be funnier than you. You can let go of all that and just throw.”
Though Meyers is still tinkering with his Late Night format, as he revealed in this week’s THR cover story, he intends to rely on many of the writers for character work as he did with SNL castmembers such as Bill Hader (Stefon) and Bobby Moynihan (Drunk Uncle) at the “Update” desk. During his mid-February test shows, Meyers, himself a writer, says he experimented with having the new stable of characters either join him or interrupt him during his early-show comedy bits.
From a former IT specialist with a funny Twitter handle to the head writer for The Onion, here is a look at the newly assembled staff’s pre-Late Night work.
The former writer for Upright Citizens Brigade Theater’s show New Money and NPR’s Wits is a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly with her own online “Ask Alison” column. Agosti also keeps a very active Tumblr account (Sample post: “I will try my best to stay up to watch the first show. At my age, I can make no promises, but I’ll give it a shot.” – My dad). Check out her stand-up routine below.
Isn’t this the dream? Donaldson was an IT specialist with a hilarious Twitter feed, until Late Night‘s producers discovered him. Get a taste of his feed below.
After a few months of spending my days in a room full of comedy writers I now realize how annoying I must be. Sorry, everyone I’ve ever met!
— Bryan Donaldson (@TheNardvark) February 13, 2014
I wonder if Kim and Kanye got excited when they saw the script and found out they were going to get engaged.
— Bryan Donaldson (@TheNardvark) October 22, 2013
I’m at that age where I can’t tell the difference between the new Eminem song and a dude yelling at the Walmart customer service counter.
— Bryan Donaldson (@TheNardvark) December 7, 2013
With Chicago comedy roots similar to Meyers’ (ImprovOlympic and Second City), the Northwestern University grad went on to write for The Colbert Report. He also played Sidney Purcell on HBO’s political comedy series Veep. Stephen Colbert gives Grosz a few seconds of precious screen time when he insults him in this clip from The Colbert Report.
Before he landed the role of Owen on HBO’s new series Looking, Law was a writer for the since-canceled Comedy Central series The Jeselnik Offensive. But you might recognize him from his appearances on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and 30 Rock. Law also won the 2011 NBC-UCB Diversity Showcase. Check out his winning performance below.
Best known for his role as the eccentric J.D. Lutz on NBC’s 30 Rock, Lutz was also a writer for SNL. Like Grosz, Lutz got his comedy start in Chicago with ImprovOlympic and Second City theaters before being hired by Lorne Michaels. He recently went on “The Love Me Cat Show,” a talk show hosted by a hairless cat, where he shares what he can do with his various body parts.
Along with writing and directing How to Follow Strangers, a feature film starring Ilana Glazer to be released by Film Buff on March 25, Nassor created and directed Chioke Nassor’s Storytime!, a web series for the online comedy network Above Average, and created and stars in several shorts on his YouTube channel. (Nassor is the one in plaid.)
The Annoyance Theater and ImprovOlympic alum performed at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal in 2013 and is a regular on The Chris Gethard Show. But he is perhaps best-known for his absurd Vine account, where he accosts people in fancy cars. Check out this collection of some of his best Vines.
The Onion head writer and co-editor of The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, an encyclopedia parody, Reiss has also written for IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! He performs regularly at the UCB Theater in New York with his sketch comedy group Pangea 3000. Watch Reiss along with fellow Onion writer Will Tracey on Attack of the Show, as they discuss what it feels like when people confuse their satirical pieces for truth.
Formerly of Amsterdam’s Boom Chicago (Meyers is also an alum) and Second City Chicago, Ruffin is currently part of the video sketch comedy troupe RobotDown. With the new Late Night gig, she reportedly becomes the first black woman to write for a network late-night talk show. Watch one of RobotDown’s sketches, “Faced With Danger,” which Ruffin wrote and starred in.
Meyers was already familiar with the work of Warheit, who is a writer for his animated superhero series The Awesomes. Warheit created the animated series Waco Valley, too, which is currently in development at Comedy Central. Watch the first episode of Gigs, a web series that Warheit wrote and starred in for Channel 101.
Wolf was formerly a writer and producer on MTV’s Girl Code and the head writer for the 2013 Style Awards on CNN. When she’s not doing stand-up, she’s contributing to the satirical internet greeting cards site someecards.com. Wolf has also been on Conversations With a Twitter Feed, a web series featuring comedians chatting with funny Twitter feeds. Check out her chat with basketball player J.R. Smith.