NEW YORK (AP) – Late-night comic Seth Meyers says he’s personally affronted by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and glad he has a platform that allows him to express his point of view.
The “Late Night” host has ramped up his attacks on the presumptive Republican nominee in the past few weeks, “banning” him from the NBC show and promising that the network would give him a scripted program where Trump could portray the president if he agreed to stop running for the job in real life.
Together with the work of HBO’s John Oliver and TNT’s Samantha Bee, Meyers’ Trump routines illustrate a sharp, newsier form of comedy that has taken root in late-night television.
“It’s nice to give ourselves eight to 10 minutes on some of the things he’s been talking about and just make clear what the contradictions are,” Meyers said in an interview. “We’ve very lucky, too, because when you’re talking about Donald Trump’s contradictions, it also sort of trends toward the humorous so we don’t get caught in a place where we’re being newsy without being funny.”
Meyers kept it up early Thursday, outlining plans for the series “Chicago President,” a wink to NBC’s dramas set in the Windy City. He said Megan Fox, 30, would play Trump’s first lady but replaced in a couple of seasons because she’d be too old.
On an earlier show, Meyers said of Trump’s comments suggesting federal judge Gonzalo Curiel might not be fair to him because of the judge’s Mexican-American heritage: “Some have called his attitudes racist, while others have called them very racist.”
He called Trump the “Ryan Seacrest of candidates.” Will judges Trump appoints outlaw gay marriage? “We’ll find out, right after the election.”
He was excited about reports that Trump could be open to a financial offer to leave the campaign. “I think we can get Mexico to pay for that,” Meyers said.
The Trump “ban” from “Late Night” came in response to the candidate’s decision not to give campaign credentials to The Washington Post. Meyers repeatedly makes clear Trump has shown no interest in appearing on the show, lest people take the idea too seriously. He told the AP that “Late Night” had earlier decided not to pursue a Trump booking because Meyers knew the show would be on the attack and he didn’t want to feel he had to pull back.
Trump was actually booked to do the show last fall, but backed out when offered the chance to host “Saturday Night Live,” Meyers said. The “Saturday Night Live” alum said he understood the decision to opt for a show with a higher profile and had no hard feelings. Trump has appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in the past year.
In a statement last week, Trump said that Meyers “has begged me to do the show for the last two years. I have told him emphatically, ‘no.’ I only like doing shows with good ratings which, as everybody knows, I only make better.”
He had no further comment through spokeswoman Hope Hicks on Thursday.
Meyers stressed the importance of staying funny while going after Trump. That was less important when feelings were more raw during the first show back after the Orlando shootings, he said.
He credited Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for their Comedy Central work, which he said made it easier to do strong, pointed comedy in late-night.
NBC “always sort of encouraged me to have a point of view,” he said. “I think they’re right in saying that a point of view lets you distinguish yourself from everybody else and lets people know who you are, which when you’re doing one of these shows every night is important.”
Trump and Meyers have a history. In 2011, Meyers spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner where, Trump sat unsmiling as Meyers and President Obama delivered a fusillade of barbs. “It seems like he’s illustrated pretty well that he’s a good grudge-holder,” Meyers said.
Still, he said Trump was polite when they ran into each other at the “SNL” 40th anniversary celebration.
“Had he not decided to run for president, I think he and I would be on pretty decent terms right now,” he said.