Before 'Late Night,' a caped crusade for Meyers
This publicity image released by Hulu shows characters from the animated series "The Awesomes," from left, Impresario, voiced by Kenan Thompson, Frantic, voiced by Taran Killam, Tim, a.k.a. Sumo, voiced by Bobby Lee, foreground, Muscleman, voiced by Ike Barinholtz, Concierge, voiced by Emily Spivey, Prock, voiced by Seth Meyers and Gadget Gal, voiced by Paula Pell, The animated series premieres Aug. 1, on Hulu. (AP Photo/Hulu)
NEW YORK (AP) — Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker first began plotting "The Awesomes," their new comic animated superhero series, in 2006, when Meyers was ascending to the Weekend Update desk at "Saturday Night Live."
"Time-wise, this was a way better idea in 2006," says Meyers. "That summer was glacial for Seth Meyers. I couldn't get arrested in 2006."
The summer of 2013, however, is an entirely different matter. Meyers is preparing to take over NBC's "Late Night" early next year, leaving "Saturday Night Live" after the fall. (Soon thereafter, current "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon will inherit the "Tonight Show.") Shoemaker, who oversaw Weekend Update at "SNL" before leaving to produce "Late Night" with Fallon, is staying on to remake the show with Meyers.
So the timing for the long-gestating "The Awesomes," which will debut on Hulu on Aug. 1, arrives awkwardly in the midst of the biggest transition of Meyers' burgeoning career, a dive into the frenzy of late-night television. Asked in a joint interview how "The Awesomes" is fitting into their lives now, Shoemaker responds quickly: "Oh, not very well."
"Mike and I always said 'The Awesomes' was our way to make sure we got to work together after 'SNL," says Meyers. "If we had any idea about 'Late Night' ..."
"We wouldn't have bothered," chimes Shoemaker.
They kept at it, though, because the series is something of a labor of love, Meyers says. He and Shoemaker first met in 2001 when Meyers was hired as a cast member on "SNL," where Shoemaker started in 1990. The two bonded in midtown trips to the comic book store, eventually coming up with the idea for their own funny, skewed gang of superheroes. After a brainstorming flurry, though, the idea receded behind the weekly demands of "SNL."
This publicity image released by Hulu shows characters from "The Awesomes," from left, Concierge, voiced by Emily Spivey, Prock, voiced by Seth Meyers, Frantic, voiced by Taran Killam, and Muscleman, voiced by Ike Barinholtz. The animated series premieres Aug. 1, on Hulu. (AP Photo/Hulu)
"For a long time, the way we talked about it was, 'It's a shame nothing ever happened with 'The Awesomes,'" laughs Meyers.
In it, Meyers voices the lead character Prock, whose unspectacular superpower (being able to pause time, which leaves him with a nosebleed) has made him the scrawny disappointment of his father, Mr. Awesome (Steve Higgins, an "SNL" writer and the announcer for "Late Night"). When Mr. Awesome retires, Prock vows to preserve his father's superhero team. After they all desert, he's left to collect more bizarre, unpolished talents.