Headline Sports Business

Interview With Seth Meyers, Host Of The 2011 ESPYs

The following is a guest contribution from Heather Brittany.  Heather is currently a law student at Loyola Law School and Sports Chair of its Entertainment & Sports Law Society.

Seth Meyers is hosting the 19th annual ESPYS on July 13, 2011.  This will be Meyers’ second year in a row hosting the awards show.  Yesterday, I was given the amazing opportunity to interview Meyers as he prepares for the show.  This correspondence is being provided by me (with, ahem, some help from Darren Heitner), exclusively to you, Sports Agent Blog readers.  Here is a bit of a synopsis of what was asked along with Meyers’ answers.

Q:        Who is the funniest celebrity that you’ve worked with?

A:        “Peyton Manning… he is one of the funnier guys I’ve ever met… that being said, Charles Barkley might be more fun to talk to… He is absolutely more outrageous.”

  • Meyers continued to state that the reason that Barkley is so outrageous is because he has been so outlandish and crazy in the past that no one is surprised by anything he does anymore, so he can say whatever he wants (and does).

Q:        Will your SNL friends be working with you for round two (of hosting)?

A:        “Absolutely, [I’m] so blessed to work with so many talented people, and we’re good at pulling things together in a week.”

Q:        Do you enjoy working with the athletes?

A:        “The good thing about athletes is that they’re very competitive, so they always want to make people laugh.”

Q:        As a Red Sox fan, are you able to be impartial in the baseball categories?

A:        “I’m fairly impartial now since they’ve won a World Series…”

  • Meyers continued on to say that prior to winning a World Series, he was “completely partial to the Red Sox.”  Breaking that “curse” seemed to loosen up fans around the world.

Q:        How are you preparing for the awards show?

A:        “Currently we’re shooting a few short films… But, [if] any athletes want to have a sex scandal in the next few [days], that’d be great.”

Q:        Are you going to be teasing anyone new this year?

A:        “The good news about something like the ESPYS is that you have the entire year to find someone worthy of a joke or two… with that [being] said… LeBron and Tiger aren’t completely out of the news.”

Q:        What’s your opinion on the world hating LeBron James?

A:        “All Americans would like to work where they want and work with the people that they want.  Unfortunately, with [the] few missteps that he made… it made a few people upset.”

  • A few may be the understatement of the year… but what do I know… I’m a Lakers fan.

Q:        What’s off limits in the sports world?

A:        “I don’t think anything is off limits.  The trick with us this year is [that] with so many labor strikes, [being able to find] the humor in it… For most people, the lockout [means to them that] their favorite sport isn’t going to happen, they’re not in tune with the intricacy of the labor disputes.”

Q:        Where do you draw the line?

A:        “[You] try not to make a joke that’s so unfair that if you saw the person [on the street] you’d walk to other way… at the heart of them, they’re fun and not mean-spirited.”

Q:        How do you judge mean spirited vs. something that’s not?

A:        “[We have six writers] if one comedy writer thinks it’s mean spirited, it’s probably mean spirited.  [Usually you know by the fact that] when you say to them, in the back of your mind, you’re like ‘That’s probably over the line.’… and to be honest, as a comedy writer, you aim for the line, and you’re going to go over, and later on, you have say with hindsight, ‘[I shouldn’t] have said that.’”

Q:        What is the most nerve-wrecking part of hosting a live show?

A:        “Most of my experience is in live [television].  The weird thing about the ESPYS is that there is no dress rehearsal, so a lot of times you’re telling the jokes for the first time.  So when you tell them and no one laughs, you see the bewilderment of the audience [as to] how you ever thought that was funny.”

Q:        In regards to hosting the Correspondence Dinner versus the ESPYS, who is the harder crowd to deal with, politicians or athletes?

A:        “Politicians are harder as the comedy audience, as they take themselves very seriously.  Athletes take themselves seriously on the field, but off of the field, my experience with them, is that they’re a fun-loving bunch…”

Q:        Who are your sports heroes?

A:        “Mike Greenwall”

  • Former left fielder who played his entire MLB career with the Boston Red Sox

A:        “Roger Clemens.  [I] lost track of him once he left the Red Sox, but I’m hoping he’s doing well.”

Q:        What was your favorite person sports memory playing in high school?

A:        “If you asked anyone I went to West High School with they probably wouldn’t remember either… I didn’t’ have many great sports moments… I ran track, and… there was at least one time when I finished [a race].”

Q:        What sets the ESPYS apart from other awards shows?

A:        “It’s different than any other awards shows, because in order to be nominated, you have to already have won what you wanted.”

Q:        If you were to be nominated for an ESPY, what would you get?

A:        “Probably baseball, or any other sport where contact is minimized… something where no one can hit you.”

Q:        How are you going to top last year’s show?

A:        “I hate to say this… but… Performing Enhancing Drugs.  That’s my move.”

  • Meyers continued on to comment that, “Six days before the ESPYS, a lot can happen, I beg any athletes that [thinking about having] a scandal, to make it happen.”

Q:        Have you lost sight of a career as a pro-athlete?

A:        “I was hoping that hosting the ESPYS would get me into becoming an athlete. … [I would] love to be a baseball player for the Boston Red Sox.  That’d be a dream come true, and not a dream [that] I see unreasonable.”

Q:        Award two of your co-hosts ESPYS.  Who are they and what would they be?

A:        “Jon Hamm – ‘Handsomist Outfielder’”

  • Don Draper did actually play baseball (and football, and was a swimmer) at the private John Burroughs School in Laude, Missouri.

A:        “Justin Timberlate – He would be ‘Most Versatile’”

Q:        What was that moment in sports that solidified you as a sports fan?

A:        “1986 World Series solidified my loyalty to sports forever.  Often our passion in defeat solidifies our [dedication to] sports forever.”

  • The 1986 World Series was played between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox.  The error by Bill Buckner in Game 6, which allowed the Mets to extend the series to a seventh game, is often cited in the legend of the “Curse of the Bambino.”  Mets beat the Red Sox, four games to three.

Q:        Any athlete you would have liked to play against?

A:        “I wish I hit against Chris Carpenter, because then I would be a much younger man.”

  • Meyers is 37… Carpenter is 36.

The ESPYS airs live on Wednesday, July 13 at 9pm EST on ESPN.  Make sure to tune in as it is always a hilarious, great, talent-filled show.  Furthermore, fans can still VOTE for their favorite athletes up to July 12.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.