Seth Meyers, the “Late Night” host and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and writer, recalled his reaction Monday to the time Taylor Swift pitched a monologue to him and producer Lorne Michaels during her first time hosting the show.
Meyers, appearing on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show, said it was unlike anything he’d ever seen — or that he’s ever seen since.
“It really speaks to what a force of nature she is and the depths of her talent,” Meyers said of the now 33-year-old pop star. “But here’s a 19-year-old who is, again, nobody is really helping out. Nobody gave her a manual on how to do it. And yet, she came to us and said, ‘I wrote a song for the opening monologue.’ And I remember saying, ‘Oh God, that’s great.’ And she said, ‘Can I play it for you?’”
Meyers said he brought Swift into Michaels’ office, where they were joined by the producer and another person.
“And Howard, she sings this song which is not only a beautiful song by a beautiful singer. It’s a perfect ‘SNL’ monologue, fully formed,” Meyers recalled. “And it was, to this day, I’ve sort of never had a moment like that where someone brings you a fully gift-wrapped present and it’s exactly what you needed it to be.”
Stern, in full “Shock Jock” form, seemed nearly as astonished to hear the recollection from the November 2009 gig.
“Can you imagine having the balls to walk into Lorne Michael’s office and your office, and you guys are all comfortable and know each other and standing there vulnerable with a guitar,” Stern said.
Meyers said looking back on the moment, he wished he would have revealed to Swift what the “SNL” writers had prepared for her.
“So you know how much f–king worse it was,” Meyers said. “Not only is your song great. But you can’t even imagine how s–tty what we were doing for you is compared to how great what you did for yourself.”
Stern said what surprised him most of Meyers’ story was that Swift wasn’t offered advice by any of the “SNL” producers or cast members before hosting.
“That’s a problem,” he said. “People think you’re supposed to know what to do when you’re hosting ‘Saturday Night Live.’ In a way, it’s a tremendous task.”
Meyers agreed, saying he didn’t fully realize the enormity of the task until he hosted several years after his 2014 departure.
“Insane,” Meyers said of the hosting duties. “Here’s what’s even crazier. I work on that show for 12.5 years. And then I think about three years after I left, I went back and I hosted for the first time. And if you ask me what it was like to host, I would tell you today — and I worked there longer than almost anybody — Howard, no one tells you anything. Like, even I, who had worked there, couldn’t believe how it works.
“And I retroactively felt so guilty about how I treated hosts for my time there,” Meyers continued. “I was always very polite to hosts, I always wanted them to score. I felt like if they won, we won. But hosts would sometimes say to me, ‘I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be doing in this sketch.’ And in my head, what I wanted to say was, ‘Just f–king do it. Like, just do it.’”
“We don’t have time for nonsense,” Stern interjected.
“Yes. We wrote it, just do it,” Meyers said. “When I hosted I realized there were a few times that I was thinking, ‘I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do in this sketch.’”
Watch Swift’s monologue performance from November 2009 below. It was her second “SNL” appearance but first as host.
And catch Meyers’ appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” in the video above.