Seth Meyers might have to be Superman this fall, when he returns to Saturday Night Live while prepping to take over NBC’s Late Night from Jimmy Fallon in February 2014. But this summer, he’s voicing Professor Doctor Awesome (a.k.a. Prock) on The Awesomes, a 10-episode animated series he created with his future Late Night producer Mike Shoemaker, debuting Aug. 1 on Hulu. Prock’s only power is his ability to stop time and overthink things, but he must rebuild the titular superhero team with super-rejects after his father retires. Here, Meyers and Shoemaker, who met on SNL in 2001, talk about their latest — and next — adventure.
One of the first things you two realized you had in common was a love of comic books.
Seth Meyers I think we always connected on liking groups of superheroes as opposed to the individual lone-wolf heroes.
Mike Shoemaker It’s the dynamic of talented people having to work together who probably shouldn’t. That’s what we tried to bring to The Awesomes.
Meyers SNL is very much like a Justice League/X-Men collection of comedian superheroes, so I think that probably had a lot to do with it.
You called on friends like Bill Hader and Kenan Thompson for voices [as Italian supervillain Dr. Malocchio and as the Impresario, a conjurer with mother issues, respectively], but it’s Seth’s brother, Josh Meyers, who performs Perfect Man, Prock’s obnoxiously heroic rival. His hair is amazing.
Meyers We said we want the character design to be inspired by the people who are playing them, and one of the notes we got from the animation studio was ”Your brother’s hair might be too cartoonish for a cartoon.”
With Late Night on the horizon, are we only going to see one season of The Awesomes?
Meyers We don’t quite know where we’ll find the time, but we’d love to go into a second season with the lessons we learned. Mike and I are talkers, not doers. You’re watching the cartoons, and you’re like, ”Oh right, we’ve got to make these people men of action.”
Shoemaker They have to fight. They’re superheroes. But the last thing we ever wanted to do was put in actual fights.
Meyers There’s a reason there’s not a comic book about Mike’s and my life. It’s mostly just sitting at desks.
What’s the timeline? Seth will return to SNL this fall and then leave at some point?
Shoemaker We haven’t worked it out with Lorne [Michaels, the SNL and Late Night exec producer] yet.
Meyers Nothing is worse in our lives than saying something before Lorne does. [Laughs]
Any hints you can give on Late Night plans?
Meyers I don’t think we’re going to try to deconstruct the late-night model. I feel like every time one of these shows succeeds, it’s because it’s built around the strengths of the host. So we’re trying to recognize my strengths. [Laughs]
Shoemaker Seth being delighted with other people is my favorite thing to watch. Watching Seth set someone up for a joke and then have it appear is the most satisfying thing.
Your Late Night desks will still be in 30 Rock. How great is that?
Meyers The greatest thing about being in 30 Rock is my photo on my ID is from 2001, and I’m really desperate to try to keep it until I’m, like, 65 years old.