Seth Meyers says he has no plans to be the new Regis

R. Scott Reedy

Seth Meyers wants to make one thing clear. He’s heard the rumors that he’s going to be the new Regis Philbin –– which reached fever pitch last week when he became the first guest co-host to sit next to Kelly Ripa for five straight days –– and he’s not buying them.

“I love doing the morning show, and Kelly Ripa is the best, but I’m pretty sure that there is no big announcement coming about me taking over as her permanent co-host,” said Meyers, 38, last week by telephone from his “Live! with Kelly” dressing room. “Besides, I can’t wait to get back to work on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ There’s no place I’d rather be than SNL, especially during an election year.”

Meyers joined SNL in 2001 and has been one of the show’s lead writers since 2006. Meyers began co-anchoring SNL’s “Weekend Update” with Amy Poehler that same year, taking over as solo anchor when Poehler exited in 2009. Over the years, Meyers has appeared in sketches as John Kerry, Anderson Cooper, Carrot Top, Ryan Seacrest and even Nicolette Sheridan. These days, however, Meyers focuses primarily on his lead writing duties and “Weekend Update” role.

“Nothing is more exciting to me than writing, and I might like to direct one day, but I’ve realized over time that I’m a lot better being Seth Meyers than I am playing other people.”

Fortunately for Meyers, his former co-lead writer and cast-mate Tina Fey does like playing other people. And, with Meyer’s sketch-writing skills at her service, Fey created a Sarah Palin impression that quickly became as popular as the one-time Republican VP nominee herself. While Meyers was pleased with the success of the faux Palin, he acknowledges that the Palin parodies were not his idea.

“It was America’s idea that Tina play Sarah Palin. There was a time, in 2008, when I couldn’t walk down the streets of New York without somebody stopping me to ask, ‘When is Tina Fey going to play Sarah Palin?’ We don’t think there will be anything quite like Sarah Palin this year. That whole thing was like catching lightning in a bottle. We get some great material from presidential politics, though, and so we’re definitely looking forward to this fall. We’re even going back a little bit earlier than usual this year, because we want to have as much fun as possible with whatever does come along.”

Meyers won’t have to wait until then, however, to find humor in the headlines.