NBC’s new late night lineup is going to have even more of a “Saturday Night Live” flavor than previously anticipated. Jimmy Fallon is already installed as new host of “The Tonight Show,” starting a week from tonight, Seth Meyers will take over “Late Night” starting February 24, and now Meyers has announced that Fred Armisen will be the new “Late Night” bandleader.
Meyers tweeted a photo of himself with Armisen and the rest of the band, then added the following information:
Fred will curate and lead the band, and continue to run it even when he’s off shooting Portlandia. #8GBand
– Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 10, 2014
So this will be quite the commitment for Armisen, a gifted musician in addition to his comedy work. (A while back, I went to an “SNL” taping where he and Maya Rudolph were the preshow entertainment, Rudolph singing a Tina Turner song, Armisen accompanying on guitar. They blew the roof off the joint.) And with Lorne Michaels producing “Late Night,” I imagine it’s possible that Armisen could port over some of his Weekend Update characters. I don’t ever need to see Nicholas Fehn again, but could Fericito be ripe for a comeback?
The Roots became such an integral part of the Fallon version of “Late Night” that “The Tonight Show” is moving back to New York for the first time since the ’70s just to accommodate the band. We’ll have to see what kind of role Armisen winds up playing in the Meyers version, or if this is just a steady paycheck that allows him to do stranger things like “Portlandia” in his spare time.