Seth Meyers, late of Saturday Night Live and current host of Late Night With Seth Meyers, hosts the Emmys from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles live Monday at 8pm ET on NBC. Meyers’ jokes won’t baby attendees in the audience, but he won’t bite them, either. “Even if it’s maybe a little negative, as long as it seems fair, you can get away with it,” he says. “But that makes it fun, that sort of walking on the tightrope with material like that.”
Whether cruel or kind, Meyers says the A material must be delivered in the opening monologue. “Having been a nominee and a guest of the Emmys in the audience, that first 10 minutes is the best time to get the audience to laugh, because as the night progresses, more and more people are disappointed.”
People less likely to be disappointed this year are those involved with HBO’s Game of Thrones, which leads with 19 nominations, followed by FX shows Fargo with 18 and American Horror Story: Coven with 17. Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black also landed several nominations in major categories. While the Emmys are clearly adapting to the changing TV and web video landscape, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will have to take a closer examination of the categories in which shows are submitted. HBO’s True Detective is classified as a drama, while FX’s Fargo and American Horror Story: Coven (the AHS series will enter its fourth season in October) fall into the miniseries/movie category, even though they’re all limited-run series. After three seasons competing in the drama category, Showtime’s Shameless switched to comedy this year. The Academy should ensure that no entrant can bend its genre to gain a competitive advantage in a “weaker” category.
Fortunately, even the weaker categories are relatively strong this year. “Anytime you do one of these things, you’re as lucky as the year you’re doing it,” Meyers says. “I feel sometimes there are Oscar years where you just realize there’s no big movie and it’s just an impossible job for a host.”
Weeks before the ceremony, Meyers was already in good comic form. Asked about Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) getting snubbed in the nominations, Meyers jokes, “I do feel there should be an award for people who play the clones — then she would be all the nominees. That would totally make up for it. But then somebody would be like, ‘I can’t believe they snubbed the sixth clone!’”
— Orphan Black (@OrphanBlack) July 10, 2014
Photo: © 2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/NBC