"Saturday Night Live" head writer Seth Meyers, who anchors the program's satirical "Weekend Update" segment, has been picked to host the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April. The high-profile event, part gala and part presidential roast, is a closely watched showcase of political humor and, while Meyers is no stranger to the live-event dais, having previously hosted the ESPY Awards on ESPN, experience alone won't guarantee success. One commentator called Jay Leno's performance last year a "comic disaster." Is Meyers the right funny man for the job?
No, he is too much of a milquetoast: This is hardly a daring move, says blogger GottaLaff in The Political Carnival. Don't get me wrong. Seth Meyers "seems like a nice guy, cute, nice sense of humor, decent delivery." But he's not up to the job of making fun of Obama to his face. He's the "safe choice" — "I'm expecting no memorable lines."
"Seth Meyers to host White House dinner"
Meyers can pull it off: He's "a perfect fit," says Christopher Weber in Politics Daily. His "arsenal of political humor is kept sharp on SNL's skewer-the-news segment 'Weekend Update,'" where he routinely lampoons everyone from President Obama to Sarah Palin to the Washington reporters who hired him for this hosting gig. If anyone is prepared to follow the president on stage, it's Meyers.
"SNL's Seth Meyers to host 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner"
He'll be fine if walks a fine line: Some previous hosts have been criticized for being "too edgy," says Patrick Gavin in Politico, like Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert who mercilessly skewered George W. Bush in 2006. Others, such as Rich Little who stepped in a year later, were dismissed as "too tame." Clearly, the secret to pleasing this "picky crowd" is to position your humor "somewhere in between the two extremes."
"Seth Meyers to head WHCA Dinner"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- How I lost all my money
- The best books we read in 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week