Seth Meyers works hard for his laughs 

click to enlarge “Saturday Night Live’s” Seth Meyers will come out from behind the anchor’s desk for an appearance in Berkeley on Tuesday. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • “Saturday Night Live’s” Seth Meyers will come out from behind the anchor’s desk for an appearance in Berkeley on Tuesday.

Though his fans may know him best for his sit-down performances as host of “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live,” Seth Meyers is just as comfortable away from the desk, standing on his own to deliver laughs.

Meyers, who appears Tuesday in Berkeley as part of Cal Performances’ “Strictly Speaking” series, is looking forward to getting back to his comedic roots.

“I’ve always loved performing as much as writing, and the nice thing about stand-up is that you get to perform your own writing, and you’re given a lot more of people’s time,” he said during a recent phone call from 30 Rockefeller Center.

“When you have an hour with people, they get to know your personality more than they do when they watch the show, and you get to do things and talk about things that would be self-indulgent within the framework of ‘Weekend Update.’ ”

In 2006, when he was promoted to head writer at “SNL,” Meyers started to limit his appearances on the show to the news spoof segments only.

“The main reason I had to stop doing sketches, which made perfect sense to everyone involved, is that it’s just very hard to head-write for the show and be in sketches performing. It’s just better to have the critical eye on the outside as opposed to being someone inside.”

Of course, his stand-up act includes his signature observations and takes on the news, politics and pop culture. While it may seem off the cuff, it’s material he has honed finely.

Though he has tackled serious issues from political scandals and elections to gay marriage and religion, when it comes down to it, making people laugh is always his priority.

“It’s funny because you can feel very stridently about something, but if you write stridently, it tends to not work,” Meyers says. “So you need to find a way to take your emotions out of it to a degree, and remember that they’re secondary to the fact that it is still a comedy show.”

If you go

Seth Meyers
Presented by Cal Performances

Where: Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way at Telegraph Avenue, UC Berkeley
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $25 to $75
Contact: (510) 642-9988,

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Sean McCourt

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