Meyers' show nets Palace box office record
MANCHESTER - Even with success that saw him as a longtime cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and now the host of his own late-night talk show, Seth Meyers told a sold-out crowd at the Palace Theatre that coming home to New Hampshire meant he'd be relegated to the type of commute he had while a student at Manchester High School West in the early 1990s.
"I drove here tonight, and it is the same drive I used to take when I would drive to West High School every day," Meyers said. "And today I drove in my mom's car, which is a robin, eggshell blue Volkswagen convertible.
"I was thinking that it's funny: No matter how long you're away from home, no matter how much you've accomplished while you were gone; heck, you could even have your own talk show, it's still super ... embarrassing to drive your mom's car to work."
Meyers, who was raised in Bedford and graduated from Manchester High School West in 1992, is an Emmy Award-winning writer and current host of "Late Night with Seth Meyers." He was recently named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people and will host the upcoming 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.
His show at the Palace on Saturday was part of a fundraiser that Peter Ramsey, executive director of the theater, said would raise about $100,000, making it the largest fundraiser in the theater's history. Meyers accepted no fee for his appearance, Ramsey said.
"It's incredibly generous and gracious of him," Ramsey said.
Meyers was coaxed to play the Palace by former Mayor Robert Baines, who was Meyers' principal at West and keeps in touch with his former student.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of him," said Baines, who also served as Meyers' "warm-up act" and introduced the comedian and actor to the stage. Baines said that before the show, he jokingly told Meyers that "if you stuck with me, I'd get you to the Palace Theatre."
Meyers began his television career with "Saturday Night Live" in 2001 and was a cast member for 13 seasons. Meyers served as head writer for nine seasons and "Weekend Update" anchor for eight seasons.
In 2011, Meyers won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for host Justin Timberlake's musical monologue. He was nominated for Emmys 10 other times.
He said one jarring moment that made him realize he was no longer truly a New Hampshire resident was when he tried to renew his driver's license while living in New York City "a couple years into my time at SNL." He said he checked a box indicating that he was not a state resident. He said he was honest because he figured a clerk would likely recognize him from his television appearances.
The clerk noticed that he'd checked that box and flatly told him he couldn't have a new license.
"I said, 'Well, why do you even have that question if it just means you can't have a driver's license?'" Meyers said. "He said, 'For reasons just like this.' I should point out, if you haven't figured it out, there was zero recognition when he saw me.
"At the end of the day, they say at the DMV, 'How'd the day go?'" he said. "And they're like, '355 yeses and one no.'"