‘Late Night’ Writer Amber Ruffin Recalls First Meeting Henry Winkler: He Goes ‘I Love You on Black vs. Lesbian’

“I died laughing!” Ruffin exclaims

Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin Jenny Hagel Jokes Seth Can't Tell

Henry Winkler has long been known as one of the nicest men in Hollywood, and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” writer Amber Ruffin would agree with that, especially considering her first time meeting the actor. According to the writer, he offered her a wonderful — albeit hilariously incorrect — compliment.

In a new oral history of “Late Night,” celebrating the 10th anniversary of the show, Ruffin and fellow writer Jenny Hagel go in-depth on how the “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment came into being. According to Ruffin, she was known solely for that segment “for years” — including for Winkler.

“Oh my god, you know what happened? Once, I was in the makeup room, minding my own business, having fun,” Ruffin recalled. “And Henry Winkler walks in! And he goes ‘Hi, you’re Amber’ and then he goes ‘I’m Henry.’ I go, ‘I know who you are, who doesn’t know who you are!’ He goes, ‘You never know, you never know.’ And then he goes, ‘I just wanted to say that I love you on Black vs. Lesbian.’”

Even recalling the memory, Ruffin cracked up, loving the fact that Winkler was actually referring to “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell.” The writer immediately noted that no offense was meant or taken, considering that is the basic concept of the segment.

“I died laughing!” Ruffin exclaimed. “I was like, well, that’s not not the name for it. It might not be the name for it, but that is what it is. But it made me laugh so hard.”

For those less familiar, “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” is a segment in which Meyers sets up jokes about Black people or lesbians, but Ruffin and Hagel deliver the punchlines respectively, depending on which category the joke falls in. At the end of the segment, they “convince” Meyers that the punchline is acceptable for him to say, then scold him when he actually says it.

You can watch a hilarious example here.


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