Seth Meyers is a little wary of coming to Lexington Monday night. He watches Justified.
"I know that no matter what happens in the hour of my stand-up, it ends in a gunfight," he says, referring to the FX television drama that portrays Lexington and Harlan as a Wild West where shootouts are routine.
Advised that Lexington is not as violent as Justified might lead one to believe, Meyers replies, "For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure the Law & Order homicide rate is higher than the actual homicide rate in New York, so you're just late to this party."
Meyers' fans are used to seeing him anchor the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, where he has been a cast member since 2001 and head writer since 2005. On Monday, Meyers brings his stand-up comedy act to the Singletary Center for the Arts.
"I'm doing a bunch of stand-up shows in our off week," Meyers said, taking a quick break Thursday afternoon from rehearsals for Saturday's show with former SNL and current Up All Night star Maya Rudolph. "It's a different skill set that I like to exercise. I find it a really fun comedy medium, one I grew up a really big fan of and I really like to do."
Meyers says his standup is "pretty close to my Weekend Update persona, the difference is I'm standing — I don't bring the desk on the road. The biggest difference is that I talk about my own life and have stories and anecdotes that there's no place to talk about on the show.
"Comedy comes from sharing your weaknesses and not your strengths, so you'll hear what my kryptonites are."
Obviously comedy is not one of them. Meyers has made it to the pinnacle of a comedy outlet most aspiring stand-ups only dream of reaching. Like many fans of Saturday Night Live, Meyers says he started watching it in high school.
"I grew up in the same town as Adam Sandler," Meyers, 38, says, referring to Manchester, N.H. "So for me, it was really exciting living in this small town in New Hampshire and the fact that he was on the show."
Sandler is one of many SNL stars to go on from the show to star in films and TV. It's no surprise Meyers cites NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup as some of his favorite TV. Three shows feature former SNL regulars with whom he worked: Tina Fey on 30 Rock, Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation and Rudolph on Up All Night. In addition to Rudolph, this season of SNL also had a guest-hosting turn by Jimmy Fallon, who preceded Meyers as a Weekend Update anchor.
"I thought Jimmy's show was the best one of this year, but Maya's will give it a run for it," Meyers said.
Weekend Update puts Meyers' comedy at the middle of the American political conversation, but as SNL's head writer, he says he has to be tuned in to the broader culture.
"You always try to have something for everybody," Meyers says. "I always say a perfect SNL is three sketches you love and one you didn't understand at all."
This week will give Meyers time off from the manic SNL schedule to catch up with pop culture and do some comedy before going back to work. But, as Justified has taught him, he'll have to get out of Kentucky alive.
"The good guys and bad guys are incredibly polite to one another until it comes time to shoot each other," Meyers said. "There's a lot of very clever banter until the hammer comes down."