Comedian Seth Meyers made headlines last spring for carving up Donald Trump when he hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner. Everybody got a kick out of Meyers' merciless barbs -- everybody except Trump. "Seth Meyers has no talent," the mogul proclaimed the day after.
Wednesday night in Madison, Meyers proved Trump wrong. He performed a standup set for a big, appreciative crowd at the Barrymore Theatre, owning the stage for an hour-and-a-half. The audience expected sharp material from Saturday Night Live's head writer and "Weekend Update" host, but they might not have expected him to be so assured in a standup setting. Meyers delivered his bits with polish and precision while at the same time seeming as spontaneous as an improv comedian.
If this guy isn't talented, Mr. Trump, who is?
Meyers came out dressed casually in old jeans. He set a casual tone, too, joking about the Barrymore, the Brewers and Gov. Scott Walker as if he'd been hanging out in town for weeks. He didn't mind interacting with audience members who shouted stuff at him (there's that improv background again), and he revealed enough about himself to make us feel like we got a peek behind the SNL curtain. Meyers is 37; he went to Northwestern, where he once dumped a load of ricotta cheese off his frat-house roof; he just moved in with his girlfriend, who inexplicably asks, "What are you thinking?"; he went to great lengths to find porn when he was a kid.
Speaking of porn, Meyers was a bit naughtier than he is on Saturday Night Live -- masturbation jokes, oral sex jokes, cusswords -- but it barely qualified as working blue. His comedy puts you at ease rather than putting you on edge, even when he delivered a string of jokes that had been censored from SNL. The only people who might have been a bit uncomfortable are Republicans, as Meyers barely hid his contempt for their current crop of presidential candidates. Rick Perry would be your choice, he suggested, "if George Bush was too cerebral for you."
I bet even Donald Trump would have laughed at that line.