Sharp political comedians are always welcome, necessary parts of American entertainment. While Daily Show grads like John Oliver and Samantha Bee have been leading the charge, a voice perhaps less expected has quietly been gaining strength on late-night network television.
But maybe it's not that unexpected after all. Remember Tina Fey's brilliant turns as Sarah Palin on SNL's Weekend Update? The head writer in charge at the time was none other than Seth Meyers.
That Meyers got his own late night show on NBC is no surprise, but it's taken a little time to find its footing. And what footing it has found.
Easily the best segment on the show is A Closer Look, where Meyers (with the help of writer/researcher/all-around brilliant man behind the curtain Sal Gentile) alights on one particular news story of striking current interest on any given day that he's doing the show.
written by Jesse David Fox, Vulture
For example, the weekend that the Mike Pence/'Hamilton: An American Musical' debacle broke, Meyers skillfully illustrated that it's all part of the Trump team's master distraction playbook:
But he didn't stop there. A Closer Look is a regular fixture of the show, and the knives are regularly out, such as in this segment on PEOTUS vs. the CIA in the wake of Russian election hacking:
We've been trained to expect this kind of storytelling from cable shows. Networks are frequently regarded as safer and more toothless places for comedy. Late night is the one place where that status might be challenged, but usually isn't.
Now, more than ever, we need voices like Seth Meyers reaching out to as many people as possible. Never underestimate the power of clever, incisive comedy.