Ethics Dunce: “Late Night” Host Seth Meyers


Seth Meyers is a comedy writer and performer, and his job, on the show following the Tonight Show, is to be funny, not to use the program as a platform for his political views. His predecessor twice-removed, David Letterman, increasingly ignored that line as time went on and he moved to CBS. This stratified his audience, and abused his role, but massaged Letterman’s massive ego. (Meyers’ immediate predecessor, current Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, may not always be funny, but he knows his place.) Meyers is relatively new to the job, and this week went much, much farther than Letterman ever went, while being supremely smug about it. Here were his hilarious comments last night:

MEYERS: So there were some incendiary and counterproductive responses to the tragedy in Dallas, but there were perhaps no worse response than that of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who complained, in perhaps the most galling and offensive way possible, that those peacefully protesting for police reform should shift their focus.

RUDY GIULIANI (on video): If I were a black father and I was concerned of my child, really concerned about it, and not in a politically activist sense, I would say, “be very respectful of the police. most of them are good. some can be very bad. and just be very careful.” I’d also say, ‘Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them, because son, there’s a 99% chance they’re going to kill you, not the police.’

MEYERS: Okay, first of all, don’t ever start a sentence with the phrase, “if I were a black father.” If you are black father, you don’t need to say it. And if you’re not, you should probably just shut the fuck up. And if Giuliani’s willing to say that some police can be very bad, you would think he’d see the value in the Black Lives Matter protests. But instead, he condemned them.


1. Meyers should not be hijacking a comedy show for his own political statements involving no satire or humor whatsoever. That is not his job, that is not what the show is for, and that is not his talent. This is an abuse of his position, no matter how much his audience members clap their seal flippers.

2. Rudy’s advice to black fathers is completely reasonable and potentially life-saving, and Meyers’ implication that only a black man can offer it is liberal racism at its dumbest. Giuliani had an entire police department report to him. He has experience and authority on the issue, whereas Meyers has none. He has been a performer and nothing but a performer since he was in college. He has no standing to tell Giuliani, who is a a lawyer, a former (tough) prosecutor and was a very successful mayor of New York City, to “shut the fuck up” about any aspect of public policy.

3. Black Lives Matters protests have included violent, anti-police rhetoric from the beginning. It is a racist organization; that is a matter of record. Here is its current description of itself:

#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes….Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

4. Black Lives Matter protests aim to short-circuit the justice system by encouraging automatic indictments of any police that are involved in the death of black individual, regardless of the circumstances. To do this, they warp public opinion by spreading false narratives like “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!, intimidate public officials and law enforcement authorities, resulting in unethical prosecutions as we have seen in Baltimore, in the Freddie Gray fiasco.

5. Rudy is often intemperate in his rhetoric: I would say that “terrorists” is not yet a fair characterization of Black Lives Matter. Still, his comments were appropriate to his experience and societal role. Myers’ comments were not appropriate to his.

If I were your father, Seth, I’d tell you to just keep it funny, and you can get away with saying all sorts of  dumb and irresponsible things.

Pointer: Other Bill

Source: Real Clear Politics


21 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: “Late Night” Host Seth Meyers

  1. I ask myself, just who watches Meyers’ show and thinks it’s funny? Using profanity against politicians you dislike is juvenile and demonstrates that Meyers is functioning at about a 3rd. grade level.

  2. Seth Meyer’s job is to be funny? When does that job start?
    So far, I’ve only seen him reciting far-left bumper stickers and memes with a smirk.

  3. Blatant shutuppery. That’s where we’re headed next, you mark my words – to the point where no one can have a civil disagreement because the minute someone gets offended they will feel they have the right to yell at you, curse you out, and threaten you. Perhaps it’s time we start reminding those who resort to shutuppery what rudeness typically produces, as in a bash in the jaw, or, to be more civilized and less criminal a “no, I won’t shut up, and I don’t give a damn if you’re offended.”

  4. While I agree with you about the Mayors comments, I disagree with you on this.

    “Meyers should not be hijacking a comedy show for his own political statements involving no satire or humor whatsoever. That is not his job, that is not what the show is for, and that is not his talent. This is an abuse of his position, no matter how much his audience members clap their seal flippers. ”

    Who determines this? You? His producers? If the producers have determined this then they should fire him. If they have no problem with it then then the audience determines it by either watching or not watching. It shouldn’t be that he can’t voice his opinion just because he is a comedian and its out the realm of his expertise.

    • I never said he can’t. I said he shouldn’t. Just as a pop singer that you paid to hear sing shouldn’t make audiences listen to her rant about gay rights. Just as Oscar recipients shouldn’t make TV viewers hear about Tibet. Just as I don’t want to hear my dentist lecture me on foreign affairs; just as I shouldn’t have to hear my barber hold forth on the Second Amendment when I’m trapped in his chair.

  5. Seth, if black fathers are inherently different from white fathers, we’re done as a society. Put a fork in us. We’re done.

  6. Erg, Meyers hosts Late Night and his immediate predecessor as host was Jimmy Fallon. David Letterman ceased hosting Late Night about 25 years ago when Letterman left NBC for CBS and started The Late Show. They are easy to confuse, both being started by Letterman when he was funny, and to a certain extent Letterman had The Late Show ‘rip off’ Late Night routines which were tied to Letterman, although in fairness Letterman also had The Late Show ‘rip off’ some of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show routines with Carson’s permission.

  7. After a full day of biased political news from the mainstream media, the last thing I want to do is hear it re-hashed as bad comedy when I am trying to wind down. Much of today’s news is far to serious and reflective of how close our society is to total collapse. As Bette Midler sings, “These aren’t Laughing Matters.” She goes on further to say, “’cause don’t you know it times like these that laughing matters most of all.” So, just do your job Seth and stick to real comedy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.