As the host of the fourth iteration of Late Night on NBC and a former Saturday Night Live cast member, Seth Meyers has spent a good amount of time in New York City. But the comedian found some time Friday to visit his “ancestral home” of Pittsburgh, hosting back-to-back stand-up shows in Homestead.
Meyers regularly visits the City and considers it his family home, as his father and many generations of the Meyers family came from here. The 120-year-old Carnegie Library Music Hall in Homestead hosted the shows, although it might not be the first place you’d think to go for stand-up comedy.
Meyers and his opener Brooks Wheelan commented on the unlikely venue early in their routines, with Meyers making fun of its rather grandiose name and Wheelan expressing amazement about the sheer number of disparate entities housed within the building, which includes a pool, gym and bingo hall in addition to the library and music hall.
Their show on Friday was so popular that a late show was added to handle demand. Along with opening act Wheelan, Meyers visited Pittsburgh with his parents, who were in the crowd during his performance.
After Wheelan’s opening set, Meyers came out to raucous applause and emphasized his family connection to the City. His father grew up in ’SLiberty (East Liberty for you non-Pittsburghers) and Meyers still can’t understand why East Liberty is pronounced the way a drunk would talk about the Statue of Liberty.
In a departure from his days at SNL and Late Night, Meyers spent the majority of his set talking about his family rather than the political jokes most fans are used to.
He told stories about growing up in Massachusetts and his father’s unique parenting style where punishments were psychological rather than physical. This included one story where his father lay in front of a bulldozer requesting to be driven over in order to get a tree stump removed from his backyard.
He and his brother were quite alarmed by their father’s tactics and, as Meyers explained, the phrase, “everything will be fine,” is the least reassuring string of words in the English language to hear when going into a situation where you never thought things could possibly turn out not fine.
Wheelan also introduced himself to the crowd in Homestead by talking about growing up poor in a Midwest meth town and not learning until last year when visiting Times Square that Red Lobster is not, in fact, fine dining, but is rather “the Applebees of the sea.”
As his friends talked about getting a bite at Red Lobster, Wheelan attempted to explain to them that he was not dressed for the occasion. As he put it, it’s “a khakis only establishment” and Wheelan was, at the time, wearing shorts.
Wheelan, who had a brief stint on SNL during the 2013-14 season, felt a Midwest connection to the City, which may have bristled some Pittsburghers who consider it to be more East Coast than Midwest. He opened his set talking about the “witch houses” of Pittsburgh, with their pointed roofs and unusual number of chimneys — who needs that many chimneys? Where do they all go?
Continuing with the fine dining theme, Wheelan recounted the first time he ordered a bottle of wine for a group. It’ll save you a few bucks over the cost of individual glasses, but you better know what you’re doing going in because there are a lot of unspoken rules. After choosing the bottle, the waiter complemented Wheelan on his choice, which caused Wheelan to think he might secretly be a savant sommelier. Wheelan then pointed out that although the joke was funny, if you understood it, you’re probably a bit of an a******. And as someone who did understand the joke, I can confirm the a****** bit too.
After Meyers finished reminiscing about his childhood during his set, Meyers moved on to his own children, recounting their rather epic birth stories that he previously shared on Late Night. Regardless, the stories were appreciated and enjoyed by the parents in the audience who were able to relate to the feelings of a new parent.
He wrapped up the stories about his wife by recounting their wedding day and his own penchant for mansplaining.
After the rehearsal dinner, his wife felt ill and thought she had food poisoning. Meyers interpreted the situation slightly differently and said she just thought she had food poisoning, but it was actually pre-wedding jitters. The next morning, he gave her a call and learned that she was in the hospital because — surprise, surprise — it was food poisoning after all.
Fortunately, as with most stand-up stories, this one had a silver lining for Meyers. Before the food poisoning incident, his wife wanted to do a choreographed couple’s dance to kick off their reception in front of a large group of friends and family which included many of Meyers’ peers — professional comedians. Meyers was less interested in the choreographed number, as “the only person in the world who is a worse dancer than [him] is [his] wife” and he knew the jokes would be merciless.
However, on the way back from the hospital, his wife decided that she was not feeling up to the dance and he was saved. Meyers hid his delight behind a Daniel Day Lewis-esque performance of sorrow and annoyance.
Meyers ended his set by recounting some of his earlier stories, but telling them this time from his wife’s perspective. As he mentioned earlier in the evening, the audience was hearing the stories very much from his perspective and was, therefore, only getting one side of the story. By switching the stories to his wife’s perspective, Meyers was able to tell many jokes about his own shortcomings, mishaps and foibles that would normally be ignored in a comedy routine.
To cap off his trip to the City and celebrate Father’s Day, Meyers and his family stopped by The Original Hot Dog Shop, a favorite of generations of Pittsburghers.