Arts & Culture, Reviews

‘Lobby Baby’ Netflix special reveals Seth Meyers’ vulnerability

Seth Meyers’ stand-up special delves into personal, includes ‘skip politics’ button

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Meyers, who hosts “Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC,” made his stand-up comedy debut in a special which premiered Nov. 5 on Netflix. Meyers joked about the challenges of fatherhood and recounted the memorable delivery stories of his two sons. The show provides a humanizing and vulnerable look at Meyers outside of his talk show persona.

On Nov. 5, late-night talk-show host Seth Meyers released his Netflix special “Lobby Baby,” which marked his stand-up comedy debut.

In the special, Meyers dons a sweater and jeans, a drastic departure from the attire of his “day” job. He acknowledges his fish-out-of-water state: “I know it can be very jarring to see someone out of context. … It might be weird to even be seeing my legs right now!” Meyers quips, referencing his late-night persona — a suit behind a desk.

“Lobby Baby” is Meyers’ first stab at stand-up, so the first 20 minutes understandably get off to a slow start. Meyers opens with a joke only relevant to Minneapolis, where the special was filmed, in which he juxtaposes the city’s complex name with the duller one of its  twin city, St. Paul. This joke is primarily directed at the live audience before him and not his broader Netflix viewership. The rest of his introductory banter is similar, tackling topics that only resonate with niche portions of his audience.

But Meyers is eventually able to capitalize on this pent-up momentum — delivering a heartwarming ode to his wife, Alexi, and detailing the chaotic parenting of their two sons, Ashe and Axel. By incorporating his loved ones, he expertly impersonates and manipulates the perspectives of his family to ultimately poke fun at himself.

Meyers fully throws himself under the bus while retelling his rocky wedding planning experience. Specifically, he lets the audience in on his reaction to his wife telling him she had food poisoning the day before the wedding. “I did something called mansplaining — which, uh, if you don’t know what that is, uh, ladies — it is when a man with no shared experience to what you’re going through tells you what is actually happening.” His ironic insertion of the word “ladies” immediately elicits cheers and uproarious laughter, a crowd-sourced token of appreciation for his self-awareness.

Later, with the recount of his two sons’ outrageous baby delivery stories, Meyers only continues to elevate his wife onto a much-deserved pedestal. In amazement of her persistence and strength, he confides in us: “I have never felt more like a sidekick to someone else.” While his first son was nearly born in an Uber while Alexi screamed “I do not like this!” the whole ride to the hospital, his second was born in the lobby of Meyers’ apartment, surrounded by five firemen and seven policemen.

Meyers then continues on his self-deprecating streak, describing his disappointment with the fact that  his son had already met “twelve kick-ass dudes” instantly cooler than his own father within the first fifteen minutes of his life. In telling a dramatic story of a common human experience — childbirth and fatherhood — Meyers earns the audience’s approval, humanizing himself by revealing that he is more imperfect, or vulnerable, than his polished, late-night persona.

As a tribute to “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Meyers incorporates a small politics section into the night’s agenda. In supposed consideration to the viewers who might not want to hear about the topic, he introduces a feature unprecedented in a comedy special: a “Skip Politics” button that appears at the bottom of the screen.

The button does exactly what it claims, with a Meyers-style twist. Upon clicking, viewers are indeed transported past his mainly Trump-centered monologue but are also nudged into a witty ruse that is guaranteed to pique their curiosity enough to rewatch the very portion they skipped. This manipulation of the digital medium was original, ironic and certainly memorable as one of the best moments of Meyers’ special.

Overall, “Lobby Baby” expertly engages with themes of family, love and humility, coating them in the snappy sarcasm that Meyers consistently masters time and time again.

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