MTV is entering the late night game with Nikki & Sara LIVE, debuting Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Ahead of its premiere, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with co-hosts Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer about comedic role models and what the expect from their new talker.
Viewers can expect to see traces of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey via Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update on the program, with both Glaser and Schaefer citing the duo as comedic influences. (Not to mention, physically, a resemblance is undeniable.)
“We both get compared to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a lot, but we love them and think we’re influenced by them,” says Glaser, noting that the first portion of their show will be similar to SNL’s Weekend Update segment. “The way that they used to do Weekend Update together, the way that they would work off each other and have fun with the jokes that they were delivering is something that we want to have -- like a loose delivery and we wanna have fun with it.”
Following the day’s top headlines, the hosts will cut to various pre-recorded sketches, man-on-the-street segments and celebrity guests. Up first is Ke$ha, who is set to make a big announcement on Tuesday’s debut.
While the duo are quick to credit Poehler and Fey with shaping their comedic sensibilities, they also “admire” the original queen of late night, Chelsea Handler. “We want our audience to feel close to us the way that a lot of people feel close to Chelsea,” says Glaser. “What everyone loves about her is that she doesn’t give a f---. She really just lets it all hang out.”
In addition to Handler’s hit E! series Chelsea Lately, she also serves as an executive producer on pal Whitney Cummings’ new half-hour, weekly talk show, Love You, Mean It. Asked about the rise of female-led comedy projects in Hollywood today, Schaefer notes: “I think that the tired old argument of 'are women funny?’ is tired now, and we’re seeing that reflected in who is doing comedy on TV. More women are getting opportunities because that myth that women aren’t funny is so stupid and played out that at this point, when I see one of those articles, I’m like, ‘Oh slow news day? You have nothing else to like talk about?’”
But where Handler rarely shies away from offending celebrities and intimidating her guests, Nikki and Sara intend to have a nicer – but no-nonsense – approach to the tabloid targets.
“We celebrate the stuff we love, but we’re not afraid to say what we think about something,” says Schaefer. “We love Taylor Swift, but if we think she’s acting stupid, we’ll call her on it.”
But where will MTV draw the line? Is the network’s own talent safe from unflattering commentary?
“I think that MTV has self-awareness, as much as we might not think that they do, but they know what is silly about their network and they’re going to allow us to parody it and make fun of it,” admits Glaser. “We aren’t mean, but come on, you know? I think they know that.”
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci