Yesterday, Seth Meyers announced that his former SNL co-star Fred Armisen would be leading his house band, The 8G Band, once he takes over “Late Night” on February 24th.
Many people were a bit surprised, as the quirky Armisen doesn’t fit in the same mold as the Paul Schaffers and Max Weinburgs of the world, but honestly he might be one of the new “Late Night”’s best early gets.
Seth Meyers and his team (meaning The Godfather, Lorne Michaels) have had a chance to use Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel as test cases to see what works and what doesn’t in this new era of late night, and it feels like Armisen can help check off a lot of the boxes on the "Things That Have Worked" list…
Portlandia is one of the funniest shows on television, and it’s still in that sweet spot where only cool people think it’s funny, yet it’s still winning Emmys. It's quite possibly the hippest show on television right now (sorry Maron).
And let’s face it: Seth Meyers is not hip. He’s likable, he fun, and he knows how to bring the funny out in people, but he is by no means hip. This definitely gives “Late Night” the edgier appeal that helped make Jimmy Fallon/Questlove successful.
He Knows How To Be Funny
That statement goes without saying, but it's important to note because every modern late night host has learned to rely on a right-hand-man, or in Kimmel's case a whole crew, to help keep up the variety aspect of the show.
Armisen is a versatile comedian and I don’t think the show will be dumb enough to limit him to just "band leader" comedy, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Ian Rubbish makes a few guest appearances when Fred is confined to the bandstand.
He Has Tons Of Awesome Musical Friends
But more importantly, Armisen has a slew of music friends at his disposal.
Apparently his new band is already comprised of Les Savy Fav members Seth Jabour and Syd Butler, but his "friends in the industry" list is pretty darn long. Armisen’s final sketch on SNL was a heartwarming jam that, if you could see through the tears, featured guest appearances from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., and musical couple Aimee Mann and Michael Penn.
Good musical guests helped keep Fallon afloat until he found his groove and don't think Lorne Michaels didn't have that in mind when he masterminded this scheme.
All in all, Armisen seems to be the perfect choice that we didn't even know we wanted. Now let's see if this all comes together when "Late Night with Seth Meyers" debuts February 24th.