Seth Meyers has made no secret of the fact that, during the pandemic, he and the “Late Night with Seth Meyers” team stumbled upon the purest form of the show. But while Meyers eventually returned to the studio and audiences came back last fall, the host still managed to carve out a piece of the series that continued the free-for-all spirit of his at-home shows: “Corrections.”
It began as an online-only bit. Sans-audience, Meyers recorded himself in the studio reading YouTube comments that were correcting errors he had made throughout that week’s show — and subsequently blasting the person who left the comment. But quickly, “Corrections” (which releases its 50th edition on Friday) morphed into something of an inside joke between him and his most loyal viewers.
“It’s like paying homage to that time we were gone,” Meyers told TheWrap during a recent interview. “And it’s also not just for us. I think that we weren’t the only people that were worried about the audience coming back. I think there was a large number of people who watch our show at home who also didn’t want them to come back and who liked the lo-fi feel of [the at-home shows].”
Meyers admits that “Corrections” started as a way to amuse his executive producer Mike Shoemaker. “The whole goal of ‘Corrections’ is to surprise Shoemaker. That’s how it started, and it’s grown into something else.”
That growth now includes a supportive, positive community in the YouTube comments section of people expressing delight at every episode (and seeing their comment read by Meyers) – something the “Late Night” host didn’t quite anticipate.
“It’s the best and that was very unexpected,” Meyers said of the community that has blossomed. “But the really fun part now is I feel I’m doing a performance of someone who’s frustrated by it, and they are lovingly doing a performance of people who are upset. But we all know that what it really is, is this fan-sourced effort to put a bow on the week.”
Indeed, while the rest of “Late Night” is fairly heavily skewed toward politics – including Meyers’ hit “A Closer Look” segment – the host said he and his team look forward to “Corrections” as a refreshing way to end the week.
“It’s obviously never about politics and it’s always about silliness,” Meyers added. “And I think for us, it’s that palate cleanser before we head out for the weekend. And I’m always very touched when I read people say it’s the first thing they watch on Friday morning. Because the comments on ‘A Closer Look,’ obviously, often are about what we’re talking about in the news. Those are also fans of the show, but many times they are justifiably upset, whereas ‘Corrections,’ I feel like we all kind of know why we’re there. And it’s a good group of people to hang out with.”
For those wondering, yes, Meyers writes every episode of “Corrections,” keeping the script secret from Shoemaker and his other writers and producers until he reads it on-air. “Nobody ever knows the context,” he says. “It’s really fun.”
So what does the writing process for “Corrections” look like? Thursday is a “no meetings” day in the office, and Meyers holes up and – you guessed it – reads YouTube comments.
“I open up the YouTube page and I scroll until every comment is there and then I Ctrl F ‘correction’ (laughs) and then I just read them. It’s like getting suggestions for an improv set. Sometimes a correction will strike me as actually interesting and then you’ll dig into it. Like I did not ever do any reading about the defenestration of Prague, but now I feel like I could get that question right on ‘Jeopardy’.”
Meyers is also the first to admit that he’s responsible for many of the mistakes caught on the show. “I’m ashamed to say a lot of the corrections are when I riff on a monologue joke. So it’s none of the writers’ fault. Goofy dad over here decides to do a riff and gets like five facts wrong (laughs).”
Part of the joy of “Corrections” is hearing the smattering of laughs from Shoemaker or Wally the Cue Card Guy or any of the writers who’ve decided to stick around for the taping. “At every level, it feels like we’re getting away with something,” Meyers acknowledged.
“I think there’s a lot of YouTube exclusive content in the world, and it was playing with that idea of like, ‘Hey, this is extra content, but it’s going to be the lowest-fi content you’ve ever seen,” he added, noting the only crew necessary to shoot “Corrections” is himself and one camera guy.
Perhaps “Corrections” can best be distilled from a compliment Meyers received from an old friend, which he recalled with a laugh.
“The highest compliment that was paid to ‘Corrections’ is my friend, Pete Grosz, who was a writer here and I’ve known since freshman year of college, he said something along the lines of ‘Well, it’s been 25 years and I’m finally seeing the truest version of you on camera.’”