Ep 18. Father of Seth Meyers (Actor, Writer, & Comedian), Josh Meyers (Actor, Writer, & Comedian): Larry Meyers
Our guest for this episode Larry Meyers, father of Josh & Seth Meyers.
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Josh Meyers is an actor, writer, and comedian whose many credits include: That 70s Show, Red Oaks, The Awesomes, and MADtv. While on MADtv, Josh co-wrote and co-starred in one of the biggest viral hits of the entire series – a sketch called “A Football Thing.” Josh is also well known for his impressions, including Owen Wilson, Matthew McConaughey, & California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Seth Meyers is an actor, writer, comedian, and talk show host. One of Seth’s first big breaks was Saturday Night Live, where he eventually became co-head writer and anchor on Weekend Update. His tenure on SNL was one of the longest in the history of the show. Subsequently, Seth became the host of Late Night with Seth Meyers where his A Closer Look segments have become viral sensations. In addition, Seth has won an Emmy Award for his writing, hosted various award shows (Emmy’s Golden Globes, ESPYs), and has his own Netflix stand-up comedy special: Lobby Baby (absolutely hysterical).
Josh & Seth are fortunate to have Larry Meyers as their father. In this episode, Larry and I talk about the method Larry employed to get Seth to wear his orthodontic headgear, why Larry put two beds in each of his sons’ rooms, and a story about a rabbit named Petey.
Enjoy the episode!
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Josh on the Web & SocialIMBD: www.imdb.com/name/nm0583570Instagram:
Seth on the Web & SocialIMBD: www.imdb.com/name/nm1024878/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1Instagram:
sethmeyersYouTube (Late Night with Seth Meyers): http:/bit.ly/LateNightSeth
Meyers Family Feud on Late Night (~10 min)
Clip from “Lobby Baby” Seth’s Netlifx Stand-up comedy special (~4 min)
Matthew McConaughey (Josh Meyers) Congratulates the Class of 2020 (~3 min)
Josh Meyers Interview – Late Night with Seth Meyers (4.5 min)
Please forgive the errors in the transcript! Enjoy the episode!
Jonathan V.: Larry, thank you so much for joining me today. I have really been looking forward to this conversation. I’m eager to learn more about how you approached raising Seth and Josh. Before we go there, I’m curious. What has it been like for you to be a guest along with the rest of your family on Seth’s late-night TV show?
Larry Meyers: Oh, it’s a lot of fun. This is we just did it, I think for the sixth or seventh time we do it every Thanksgiving. And occasionally if we’re in the audience, they pan to us, we don’t go that often, but it’s really a lot of fun. We do different things every time, you know, we’ve played the newlywed game against Seth and his wife and his in-laws. We have had a scripted piece where we were forgiving one another for different things we did. We have played Myers family feud where we were asked questions that we didn’t know the answers to. That would be things that we would remember from when we were, when they were at home and were kids. Yeah. It’s a little different every time. But most of it, you know, just sitting on the couch is just being goofy and answering questions. I think Seth generally has a plan of what he wants to do and we just react.
Jonathan V.: How was it the first time, had you done anything like that before? Or were you a little nervous?
Larry Meyers: I wasn’t nervous, but my wife was nervous and they had a drink for her and she couldn’t pick it up when she would try to pick it up her hand would shake and it would click on the desk. And so she would have to wait until the end before she actually picked it up. When she calmed down a little bit.
Jonathan V.: She looked cool as a cucumber in this last Thanksgiving, a Myers family special. So I guess she’s since gotten used to it.
Larry Meyers: Well, as I said, it may not have been our first drink.
Jonathan V.: I also noticed in his stand-up special on Netflix Lobby Baby, he said something to the effect of, to this day, you are Josh and his best friend. He is incredibly impressed with the father that you were and he hopes to be that good of a father to his own kids. That must make you feel pretty good.
Larry Meyers: It does. It’s always nice to hear, hear your kids say nice things about you. You know, we definitely do have a good relationship. I mean, let’s, let’s be honest. He doesn’t have anything to compare it to. So yeah, no, we have a great, we have a great relationship with our kids. We always have, yeah, it’s definitely is something to be proud of. And he’s a very engaged father with his boys. I think parenting styles are different to different periods of time. I think their parenting style is different than ours, but there’s no right way to do things. And they seem to have a great situation with their kids that we certainly have a lot of fun when we see them and enjoy being around them.
Jonathan V.: Yeah, that’s right. There’s certainly no perfect way to be a dad or one right. Way to be a dad and no perfect dad for that matter either.
Larry Meyers: That’s probably true. I mean, my general view of things is that my way is the right way, but you know, I’m probably the only person that ever thought that.
Jonathan V.: Well, maybe you are that perfect dad. Who knows? So could you paint a picture for what the Meyer’s household was like when the kids were young?
Larry Meyers: When they were really young, we moved to New Hampshire when they were in second and fourth grade, we lived in Michigan and a town called Okamose, which was near East Lansing. I had a job out there and when they were at, you know, at that age you know, second and fourth grade would be like eight and 10. So prior to that, we would play lots of games. I would come home at night, a lot of imaginary games. I mean, we would going back to when they were infants and I used to get up on Saturday morning. We would actually watch loony tunes while I was feeding them. I mean, they couldn’t walk or talk, but they would, they would laugh, especially Seth. He was a huge audience. He’s always been a great audience for things. Josh is much more active. He’s much more interested in doing things when he was little than if he was bored, we were watching a movie or something. He would go into the kitchen and get a box of brownies and come out, say, can I bake brownies. Just that, he liked following directions, you know?
And he, like, he liked doing stuff and Seth could sit on the couch and do nothing for hours, but we would pretend we were Tweety and Sylvester. And Sylvester’s little boy, if you go back that far with Loony Tunes, sometime Hillary would join us and she’d be a bulldog. Or we would play, there was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon called Pixie and Dixie. And, and there was a cat named Jenks who would say, I hate you Meases to pieces. And we played a version of a game called Meases To pieces. All of these were basically versions of hide and seek, but we would run around upstairs and do that. And then I would tell them, because we got our first Albert when they were still living in Michigan. And so I would, they would get in our bed at night and then I would tell them stories about Albert’s relatives. And I would just make up take stories from mythology or any story I could think of and turn it into a sheepdog story. And the stories would always end with the same thing with me going into my closet. I didn’t come bursting out as one of Albert’s relatives, jump on the bed and tickle them and so forth.
Jonathan V.: Oh, that is great. So would you say that the Myer’s place was an active household?
Larry Meyers: Very much like the kids like sports. I mean, we used to play knee football in our living room with a pair of socks. We had a lot next to our house that was not developed. And we used to play a lot of football, family football out there. You know, they were involved in little league and so forth. They were skiers. We started them skiing when they were pretty young and we had a place up in Northern Michigan to go skiing for the winter. We used to go every weekend. And the skiing in Northern Michigan is not great by any means, but they were little and they might as well be skiing in the Alps as far as they were concerned.
Jonathan V.: Right. Right. It’s all big when you’re that small. Right?
Larry Meyers: Yeah. And then Josh, Josh would ski and all weather, any weather and very often if the weather was really cold and really wet and snowy and whatever, you know, Seth and Hillary on Sunday where they’d say, nah, we’re not going to go. And I would go with Josh all the time.
Jonathan V.: Earlier, you mentioned you were telling a story and you mentioned your first Albert, for those less familiar with your naming traditions and pets, would you mind explaining that?
Larry Meyers: Well, when we lived in Michigan, we had neighbors that had a dog named Casey and they had older children sort of college age children, I think. And this dog, we lived in a subdivision that didn’t have very much traffic where we lived in. Now, this dog, Casey used to always come over to the house. It would scratch on the back door and come in. And so it was like we had a dog, but we didn’t have to feed it or do anything with it. The kids could play with it, but ever since I was a kid and saw the movie, the Shaggy Dog, I wanted an English sheepdog. Ironically, the dog in a shaggy dog was a Bouvier. It was not an English sheepdog, but I was a kid when I watched it. And I didn’t know that. And one day I was actually driving to the airport in Lansing to go on a business trip. And the particular route I took that day, I went past, it was not a route that I normally took. And I went past the house that had a big wooden silhouette of an English sheepdog.
And it said, English sheepdog puppies for sale. And I think it was going to Chicago. And when I got there, I called Hillary. I go, Hey, you know, the kids like the neighbor’s dog, maybe we should get him a dog. I’ve always wanted an English, sheepdog. And for whatever reason, I thought if I had one, I would name it Albert. So when I got home from the trip, a couple days later, Hillary had gone to the place and bought a dog. We named him Albert. And when we moved here in 1983, we brought the first Albert with us, you know, and then eventually as the case with animals, the dogs they die and you have to put them, or you have to put them down when the time comes and I just, I just really missed him. And we ended up getting another one. And just basically I wanted a sheepdog named Albert. I didn’t see any reason why we just shouldn’t start over.
Jonathan V.: But it was that a topic of discussion in the family or was that, was that just a done deal or you had decided this is I’m going to name my dog Albert again. And that’s that?
Larry Meyers: I don’t recall it being a topic of discussion. I don’t think I, it, perhaps my, my the strength of my conviction about the naming dissuaded, anybody from arguing with me about it.
Jonathan V.: Well, it sounds like you were a very engaged father based on how you described all the activities that you were involved with as the kids were growing up. Did you have any particular parenting philosophies? Are there things that you really thought about and implemented purposefully, or just in retrospect, these were the types of things that you did as a parent?
Larry Meyers: Yeah, I think I did. It’s interesting. I commented before that parenting styles are different and I’m sure that everybody, at least I’m sure that I looked at the way my parents raised me. I was an only child. I had a half-brother that was an adult and didn’t live at home. So I grew up basically as an only child. And my parents were married fairly late in life. So I had a great childhood. I grew up in a great neighborhood in Pittsburgh, right near a schoolyard, lots of friends, terrific, terrific childhood. But you know, there were certain things that the way my parents raised us, me that I thought, well, I would do this differently when I was a parent. And I’m sure my kids probably think the same thing as Seth was raising his kids, but to my philosophy. So there were a couple of things. One was, I would never make an idle threat. So if I said that you had to do something or else the, or else was absolute, it would happen.
It would happen. And a good example of that was when Hillary decided to go back to teaching, we lived here. I think Seth was in fifth grade. So about a year after we got here, she decided to go back to teaching and she got a job, actually teaching French. She started a foreign language program in the town, in the middle school where Seth went to school, he was in her class. She taught both of our kids actually. And I said, well, you know, mom’s going to be going to work now. And she’s going to be busy. She’s going to have homework and papers to grade and stuff like that. So you guys have got to do a little bit more from chores, because they didn’t do a lot of chores, but they, I said, and so the one chore I want you to do is I want you to wash the dishes every night. We had a dishwasher. So it wasn’t a terrible job. Really just rinsing the dishes off and putting them in a dishwasher, that was all they had to do. And I said, I don’t care if you do it together. I don’t care if you alternate every day, alternate every week, I don’t care, but it just has to be done every day.
Okay. That’s great. We would say, go out one evening, leave the kids with babysitter and go out. And I remember coming home one night, you know, about maybe 12:30, one o’clock, whatever time it was. And the dishes were in the sink. And I said, they didn’t, you know, they didn’t do the dishes like Hillary said, we’ll get it tomorrow. And I came upstairs, woke them up, made them go down and do the dishes. Because there was no ifs about it. I did was when Seth was a little bit older and he had braces. He was at a period in the orthodontic work that he had to wear headgear at night. And I took him to the dentist one day. And the dentist was said, you know, I don’t think he’s wearing his headgear. You know, we’re not making the progress we’re supposed to make and everything else. So I came up with a scheme that I said that if Josh who was two years younger, could catch Seth without his headgear, that Seth would have to pay him $2.
Jonathan V.: Oh. So it wasn’t even, you paying Josh $2. You had Seth paying him $2. That’s wonderful.
Larry Meyers: Josh was very economically motivated as a child and he would hide in the closet under the bed. And we called this headgear for no particular reason. We called it as gummy. He was a gummy patrol and we’d be in bed or something. And all of a sudden you’d hear it. You know, the lights would be out. You hear Josh yell, gummy patrol, gummy control, and I’d get off and I’d run in. And he would have jumped out of the closet or something and found Seth without his headgear on.
Jonathan V.: That is wonderful.
Larry Meyers: So that was, that was one thing. The other thing, as they got older and you know, we’re driving teenagers. I remember saying, because I used to argue with my father all the time, about how late I would stay out, because I didn’t have a car. I would use his car or I would go out with my friends. But, and in Pennsylvania, if you were under 18, you had what was called a junior license, and you were not supposed to drive, it wasn’t valid from midnight to five AM.
Jonathan V.: Yeah. Yeah, here, they still have. I live in Pennsylvania and they still have the junior license.
Larry Meyers: I never paid any attention to that. And my father was sort of, you know, by the book kind of guy. And he was also always worried that consequences were going to be terrible for V getting a ticket or something. And I was much less concerned. First of all, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to get caught. No, you know, I didn’t see a bunch of police after midnight pulling cars over that had teenagers in them. And you know, and I was busy being a teenager, having fun, but I used to come in and he would plus he to be fair, he was worried. And we would have these huge routes and I would pay no attention to it. And he, this is possibly where I got it because by the next weekend he’d forgotten about it. And I would do exactly the same thing. So when they were older, I would say, you’re not the first teenagers that ever existed. I was a teenager. I wanted to do whatever you wanted to do. I lived in an urban area. You live in a more rural area, but you know, I had a big group of friends.
We did a lot of stuff. We wanted to be out. We wanted a party. We went to people’s houses. We went on dates. We did this, we did that. So it’s not like you’re the only people that have ever done anything. So I said, here’s the deal? A couple of things. First of all, my dad had this rigid. You got to be in by 12. I would say on any particular evening, because they did have a car. Where are you going? What are you going to do? And then we’d agree on a time based upon what they told me. Maybe it was 12. Maybe it was one. It was never after two. Because as I used to say, they close the bars to nothing good happens after two, right? All the people coming out of bars that are, that didn’t get lucky that night or a bad mood or drunk. And you don’t want to be out after two, but it was never a rigid thing. We would agree. We would agree. But the deal was that when they came home, they had to come in and wake me up and hug me.
Jonathan V.: That’s nice.
Larry Meyers: No, it was because I wanted to smell them. And they didn’t want to be woken up because I wanted to smell. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to smell. And I, I was, if they came in at one, then that was the time. Give me a hug, go to bed. Everything was cool. And the other thing I have to tell you about the same thing before I come to the end of this story is that I used to say, if you do something that you know is wrong and it’s going to upset me and you lie to me, do not give me a bad lie because I will be angry that you did something you shouldn’t have done. And I will be triple angry that you don’t have enough respect for me to come up with a good lie.
Jonathan V.: Interesting philosophy.
Larry Meyers: So one night, Seth was probably 17, 18. We have a screened-in porch where our assets on a Hill. So a screened-in porch is kind of three levels below us and he and a young lady or watching a movie in the screened-in porch. And he was going to, after maybe she was going to sleep at her girlfriend’s house, they might have had a tennis tournament the next day or something. I don’t know what it was. So I wake up about 2:00 AM and the lights are on in the hall, which is unusual. And then I go into Seth’s bedroom. The lights are on. So I walked down to the screen porch and the lights are on there. His car is not there. So I come back upstairs and I wake up Hillary and say, Hey, Seth’s not here. She said, it’ll be fine. Just let’s just go back to sleep. She says, nobody’s called the police haven’t called, everything’s okay, go back to sleep. I go no. He wasn’t it’s two o’clock. He knows he can’t be at this Lake. And I said, where was he taking that girl?
She was going to sleep at so-and-so’s house. Well, I happen to know where so-and-so lives. So I get dressed. I go down and I’m going out into my driveway. And as I’m going out to my car, we live at the top of the Hill. He’s coming up the Hill. And he pulls into the driveway and I’m leaning on my car and he gets out of the car and he said, hang on, let me tell you what happened. Let me explain, let me explain. And I said, okay. And he said, so I took the girl over to her friend’s house, but we had fallen asleep, watching a movie. By the time we got there, everybody in the house had gone to bed. So it was too late to take this girl home. So we threw some stones at the girl, other girl’s window to wake her up. Her parents thought somebody was breaking in. They called the police. The police came and detained us until the people came out of the house and vouch for who we were and explained the situation. That’s why I’m late. And I said, okay, go to bed. And I thought to myself, I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s a good lie.
Jonathan V.: Good lie. If that’s not true.
Larry Meyers: Either, either way. I’m okay with it. If it’s true, I’m okay with it. And if, if it wasn’t true and he went to the trouble to come up with that lie, I’m okay with it.
Jonathan V.: Well, you went to great lengths. You showed respect in that regard.
Larry Meyers: It was, yeah, it was, I felt respected. I felt respected.
Jonathan V.: Anything stick out to you as particularly challenging raising the boys?
Larry Meyers: We had no trauma of, you know, teenagers and stuff, you know? Yes. We had a couple of car accidents that I don’t think is unusual for teenage boys, nothing serious. Nobody got hurt. But I remember one Sunday afternoon, it was late in the winter, early spring. And I just look out my window here and there’s a snowplow going up my street. I had a Lincoln, and Seth was going somewhere with a friend and I was watching a football game. And he was literally only on the next street, which was a big circular street. It’s very hilly here. And he had come around the turn too fast and it was sand on the road and he slipped and the car went up into the woods and landed on a stone wall.
Jonathan V.: Oh no. Oh, was he hurt?
Larry Meyers: No, no And he calls us before cell phones. He calls and says, Hey, that I’m over here at on such and such a street. Could you, there’s something, something wrong with the car that was. Seth did not like to give you bad news. He would make Josh give you bad news. He was always sent Josh, but Josh wasn’t available. He was doing something. And he says, just I’m over here on the next street. So I could actually walk through the yards to get to the next street. And there’s my car on a stone wall.
Jonathan V.: Something wrong with it.
Larry Meyers: And that’s what I said. I said, you know, you’re a pretty creative guy. I go, when you called me and I asked you what it was, how about my car is on a stone wall. But another time here when they were younger, before driving, I finished the basement. I put in a tile floor and I put in a suspended ceiling and I created a playroom.
Jonathan V.: Oh, that’s nice.
Larry Meyers: I’m not really into that sort of handy’ish, handyman type stuff. But I did it myself. So Josh comes up one day and he says something wrong with the ceiling. There’s something wrong with the ceiling downstairs. I go, what? He goes, it’s, it’d be better if you came and just took a look at it. There’s something wrong with the ceiling, I thought, okay, I go downstairs, the ceiling has come down. They somehow pulled it down. So standing in the middle of the room with this suspended ceiling, holding it, holding it up in the middle, like a little short pillar. And I go, Whoa, how about, how about this? We pull the ceiling down. How about that? But Seth would never come up and give you, he would always send Josh with bad news.
Jonathan V.: It’s it seems like that might’ve been a little window into their creative nature that they ended up making careers of later in life.
Larry Meyers: Yeah, they were, they definitely both had a creative bent. They were not really like theater kids. They were very interested in comedy. And Seth always says, when he’s interviewed, you know, we got into different comedy performances much earlier than other kids, our age, like they were watching Monty Python.
Jonathan V.: Were you exposing them to this or were they finding it?
Larry Meyers: No, I was, yeah. It needs to be when they’re a little older Richard Pryor albums, a lot of stuff that their friends probably weren’t really into.
Jonathan V.: How old would you guess they were when, when they were watching, say Monty Python?
Larry Meyers: Pre-teens probably. But then they would do, and they watch SNL and they had these events at their high school called one was called Winter Follies. And one was called Comedy night. And they would perform either, either Monty Python bits or SNL bits. And then Josh did it after Seth graduated. Josh did things. Some of it was more original, but when they originally started out, they were doing other people’s material. But except for that, Josh probably has more performing talent. You know, he can sing, he can dance, he can probably act better. And he was in, I think a middle school production of Fame. When he was at Northwestern, he started Tommy. He was at a mime troupe. He was in Hair. That wasn’t Seth.
Jonathan V.: Did Seth and Josh always seem to have creative personalities?
Larry Meyers: They were always creative. Give you two great stories about that. My favorite is that, as I told you, Hillary was a teacher at Seth’s school and Seth was always, always waiting till the last minute to get work done. Josh was more industrious and Seth was always a procrastinator. It turned out that when he trained his whole life to work on SNL where you had to do things at the very last minute and do it very quickly. He was.
Jonathan V.: Yeah. And I guess in his current job as well, right. I mean, he’s, he’s coming up with this stuff almost same day.
Larry Meyers: Yeah. Especially over the last few years when you’re trying to do a closer look and you start it in the morning and by the afternoon, everything changes. But he had to write a family history in seventh grade and he was, obviously, my wife knows very much what’s going on with school. How you kind of went on the family history. Okay. Do you need to look at any family albums? Yeah, I am going to do that and I’m going to do it. You want to talk to your grandparents, interview them because that’s one of the things you’re supposed to do, no I’m going to call them. Don’t worry about it. This goes on. This goes on. This is toward the end of the year. So the last night before it’s due, he had an old Macintosh computer and he’s in his room and I can hear him typing when we go to bed. And then the morning when I wake up, I can hear the printer printing out the story.
Jonathan V.: Wow he’s up all night. Wow.
Larry Meyers: I don’t, I don’t know if he was up all night but it was definitely last minute. And I’m thinking to myself, well, this is going to be a lesson. This is going to be a lesson for him that he waited till the last minute. And he probably did a poor job. And you know, the grade will reflect that. So he takes it off to school. This is right toward the end of the year. So school’s over and Hilary is cleaning out his backpack that has like a sandwich that’s four months old and then some other stuff. But she takes out his family history. So I come home from work and she says, here is Seth’s family history that he wrote and I’m thinking, Oh, this is the one he waited till the last second. It’s a seventh-grade thing. Maybe it’s four pages type three pages typed. You know, it’s not Swan’s way. It’s not that long. So, first A+, wow. What an interesting family. They get down to the bottom of the first page and it says, I can’t, the teacher says I can’t wait to turn the page. And then the next page, some other similar comment on the bottom. And I read it and it’s really good. There’s just one thing.
Jonathan V.: What’s that?
Larry Meyers: It’s all made up.
Jonathan V.: So it’s not your family history at all. It’s a family history.
Larry Meyers: It’s not our family history at all. One of the things that I can remember is that my grandmother who was from Lithuania, who I’d never met, who died before I was born, was a member of the Lithuanian Olympic equestrian team.
Jonathan V.: This is in Seth’s version?
Larry Meyers: Yeah, Seth’s version, she was on the equestrian on the Olympic equestrian for Lithuania. What a combination of the Olympics, equestrian, Lithuania. Those three words have never been used in a sentence before or since, by anybody in the history of time. So that was just the one thing I can remember.
Jonathan V.: Do you think there might’ve been a little connection there between that event and the advice you’d given him previously, that if you’re going to lie, make it a good lie.
Larry Meyers: If you want to give me credit, I’ll take it.
Jonathan V.: That’s some pretty creative thinking. It’s not like he wings it, right?
Larry Meyers: It was yeah. For a 12-year-old, it was very, it was a very well-written piece. Seth’s always been a good writer, you know, at whatever level he was, he was a good writer at that level. He was a good writer for a 12-year-old. So he came home that night from wherever he was, out playing on his bike, and he comes in and I said, Hey, I read your family history. He goes, yeah. He’s I got a really good grade on that. I go, yeah, but it’s not our family. And then he had the line that should have told me he was going to end up where he is today because he said, what were they going to do? Check.
Jonathan V.: Wow. And to have that perspective in seventh, eighth grade as well.
Larry Meyers: Yeah. Yeah. Cause he was always looking away to cut a few corners, but I have to tell you one other childhood story. When they were pretty young, Josh wanted a pet rabbit and we got him a pet French Lap eared rabbit. It was black. His name was PD. And we had a Guinea pig in a little cage in the kitchen that he wanted at some point too. But Guinea pigs are not smelly and rabbits, their urine feces, their cages stink. So we couldn’t keep the rabbit. And we learned that we couldn’t keep the rat in the house. We kept it in the garage. So Josh goes down to feed the rabbit one day and it’s cold, very cold, January freezing cold. And the rabbit is dead. But he didn’t. He came up, he goes, look with PD stolen because it was spread out stiff legs out in front, legs out in the back of the stuff. He wasn’t aware that it was dead. And we had never lost a pet at this point.
He’s really upset, as you can imagine, and this is new territory for us as parents. So I said, okay, here’s what we’re going to do. This is Seth. I’m not crazy. I don’t sound great here. I’m not crazy about handling bad animals, but Seth would touch anything. Even when he was a little kid, a snake, I’ll pick it up. You know, a crab, anything he’ll touch anything. I said, here’s a shovel. Here’s a shoebox. Put Petey in the shoe box, pick her out and down in the backyard, dig a hole and barrier. And then we’re going to come out. We’re going to say a few words and we’ll make Josh feel better. We’re going to have a funeral for a rabbit. Now what I don’t consider is that it’s January and it’s 15 below zero and the ground is frozen solid. So he goes out and he’s gone for a while. And he comes back. He said, okay, I buried Petey.
And we go down into the yard and the snow is all moved around and there’s a rock there. And he said, I made this, this rock like a headstone. We all stand there. And anybody wants to say anything about Petey and you know, we all miss Petey and blah, blah, blah. And we go inside for the next 25 years. Every time I go past that rock, it’s a big rock. I say, if Petey’s rock, there’s Petey’s rock. Same thing with Hillary there’s PDs rock. Same thing with Josh. We’re having dinner in Pittsburgh about five years ago. And one of these trips to Pittsburgh for a Steeler game. And we’re talking about that. It’s for some reason this came up and Seth says, Oh yeah, about that. He said, well, he says, you, you gave me this shoebox and Petey didn’t even fit in the shoebox because the legs were stretched out. So I threw the shoebox away in the garbage. And then I went out and I tried to, I couldn’t get the shovel in the ground.
These I tried, but if the ground was frozen, I couldn’t do it. So I just spent a little bit of time out there. And then I took, I threw her in the woods and came back in and then moved the rock over. And I told you, I had buried Petey He thought we would, we would laugh. We were aghast walking past that rock for 30 years. paying Homage to Petey. He goes, what did you want me to do? you idiot, the ground was frozen. I was 12 years old or whatever. The other thing too is that Seth and Josh are, have always been really good friends too. You know, as brothers will argue from time to time and stuff like that, but just generally speaking, they were always very, very close.
Jonathan V.: Is there anything that you think that you did in particular or as a family to cultivate that kind of close relationship? Because it seems that way, how they are today, certainly, but kids how they are when they’re people, how they are when they’re adults doesn’t necessarily reflect that the childhood relationship?
Larry Meyers: You know, they could probably answer that better than me. I, I mean, I can remember an incident where, and this says a little bit more about Josh is that we lived in a subdivision that had very little traffic and the school was right in the subdivision. And so at a very early age, they could bike to school together. Seth was say, as I said, we moved here when he was in fourth and Josh was in second grade, but they could bike to school. It was very safe. So one day Josh had forgotten lunch money. And I guess they were in the lunch line and he went to Seth and he said, Hey, I forgot my lunch money, dude, can I have some money or whatever he said, Seth was busy doing something with some of his friends that he kind of put Josh off. Josh, didn’t like to be put off. Josh can be a little bit stubborn. So he left school, got on his bike and came home. And Hillary was taking some courses at Michigan State.
And I think there was a cleaning person at the house that Josh wonders walks in and she says, what are you doing? He goes, I’m here for lunch. So Hillary hadn’t said anything to her, but there was this little boy comes in, he wants lunch. So the woman gave him some lunch. He set up his little TV table. We had HBO and he started watching a flash Gordon movie. So the lady said, well, I’m done. I have to go. And he said, that’s okay. I’m almost finished with my lunch. So she assumed that he was just going to go back to school. Maybe not a great assumption on her part to begin with, but let’s leave her out of it for a minute. So he started watching Flash Gordon and he got into it. And so he puts his table and chair away, lays down on the couch and watches the movie. Well, meanwhile, now the school’s freaking out. They don’t know where the kid is. And he’s like in second grade or something. And again, this is before cell phones. So eventually either they got, I don’t think they got ahold of me.
I think it just, Hillary came home and he’s sitting there watching a movie and he explained to her what happened when I remember that night saying I was, I was pretty upset about it. And I remember lecturing Seth, is that no matter what’s happening, if your brother needs something, you drop everything and take care of your brother. That’s the priority always. So I don’t know. I know that I’ve heard Seth tell that story. So clearly it resonated at some level, but I think that it’s just an incident. There was nothing I wasn’t thinking. Yeah. I thought it was the right thing to say, but I didn’t have any long, you know, as a parent, you just doing these things in the moment. I think what played a bigger role, to be frank, is when I was a kid, we went to visit somebody once who had a kid, my age, not somebody we knew, well, distant relations. And I went up to play in this kid’s bedroom and he had two beds, two single beds at right angles to one another.
I thought that was the coolest thing I ever saw to have two beds. He had no reason to have two beds. So when our kids, we lived in Michigan, I put two single beds in Seth’s room and both beds in Josh’s room because of that, because of that childhood experience, they would tend to sleep together. Even though they both had their own rooms, they would tend to end up in the same room and you could hear them talk and laughing and doing whatever they did. Just the two of them. And night after night after night for many, many years.
Jonathan V.: I really like the double bed idea. It seems like, especially for a couple boys, having the opportunity to have sleepovers with your brother. Whenever they want, did they both go to Northwestern?
Larry Meyers: Yes. And that was interesting too. When you talk about the dynamic between the two of them, because when Josh was applying to schools, he had some options of where to go and we were trying not, Hillary and I also went to Northwestern. That’s not why Seth went there. We were not active alumni, but when it came Josh’s time, we didn’t want to influence him. And I didn’t really understand the logic behind the schools that he applied to or got into. I remember he got into Columbia, he got into Middlebury in Vermont. He got into Northwestern. There may have been others. What have you. But when he finally decided he wanted to go to Northwestern and he had been there, he had seen it. I said the fact that Seth was an, a plus or a minus, he said it was a huge plus.
Jonathan V.: I can imagine few more gratifying things to have your kids be good friends with each other as well, wanting to spend time with you, as it appears that they do.
Larry Meyers: Yeah. That that’s, that’s a good, a good thing, too. We always, until you know, once, you know, Seth gets married and has a family, his priorities have to shift in terms of how he uses his time as would be expected, but before they had significant others, because Josh has a significant other. Lovely woman that he has been living with for several years, we would always go on vacation in the summer. We would go to different places. We went to Bermuda one year, we went to up through the wine country in California. One year we went to Italy. I can’t remember all the places, but we would go, we would go somewhere the four of us for a week or 10 days in the summer. And we’d always have a ball.
Jonathan V.: You were doing this as adults as
Larry Meyers: Yeah. As adults, as adults. Definitely. It probably, probably in college, maybe a bit, not so much in college, because I think they had summer jobs or stuff that they were doing. And you know, the, four Seth and his wife, Alexi and Josh and McKenzie, they’ve gone, I know they’ve gone hiking in Europe. They’ve gone to Iceland together. They’ve, they’ve done some things like Josh is on the West coast. Seth is on the East coast. And of course now Seth, and they have two little boys, so it’s not the same as it was before the children came along. But yeah, it’s I’m very happy. And the other thing about that is both of them are in the entertainment business and the entertainment business is a hard business in that if you think personally, how many job interviews you’ve been on in your life, or how many times you’ve changed jobs, it’s usually not a big number. But when you’re an actor and you’re auditioning, it’s like a job interview.
When it’s say, pilot season on the West coast, it’s a little different this year, but you know, you’re going to auditions all the time and so forth. And most of the time, the answer’s no, right. It takes a pretty thick skin, you know, to be in that business for most people. And, you know, Seth has had about two auditions in his life. You know, when he got the job at Saturday Night Live, it was, you know, it gets getting through an eye of a needle and, you know, and he wasn’t exactly when he first got there. I mean, he wasn’t Bill Hader, he wasn’t Will Forte. And it was only when he was a good writer and he was, he was really adding value as a writer, but it was when he got updates that really changed his, the arc of his career. And Josh has had a more, you know, he was on that seventies show. He was on Mad TV. He made several pilots that, you know, as are most pilots, they don’t get picked up, but, you know, they’re very different career arcs. Seth has a career arc that very few people have. Very few.
Jonathan V.: They’re in the entertainment industry. Very, yeah. And even by SNL standards, he was, he’s one of the longest cast members, right?
Larry Meyers: Yeah. He was, Keenan is longer. Darrell Hammond may have been longer, but those would be the only two. And he was there 12, 12 and a half years. And, but if you consider the fact that they’ve had very different story arcs and that story where his career arcs and hasn’t affected their friendship at all, they’re still just as close. That’s wonderful. And that’s, you know, you have to give Josh the credit. I think for that, in that because it would be, it would not be human not to be, they have some jealousy about it, but it has no effect that that’s visible, at least on their relationship. They’re still very, very close. And the other thing is, Josh is funny. This is the other thing about that business. It’s Josh is funny. He’s got a very much more of a rapier type wit than Seth does. But it’s just, just an odd business.
Jonathan V.: Yeah. And did you have any conversations with them about that? Did you provide any advice? How did you feel about the whole idea of going to this professionally?
Larry Meyers: Well, I definitely remember what I said. The first thing is I told them that if you want to be comedians or actors, that that’s an okay dream to have, but you have to understand it’s your dream, not mine. So you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. In other words, if you have to be a waiter, if you have to live with six roommates, if you have to struggle, whatever you have to do, that’s what you have to do. If you’re not willing to do that, you probably shouldn’t try it because that’s probably the way it goes for most people. I said, but I will tell you what will make it easier for you? Cause you might as well take a shot because you have the best insurance policy in the world against failure, as long as you do what I’m going to tell you. And that is that you’re 21 or 22 years old.
You can afford to fail. As long as you don’t have any baggage. Here’s what baggage is. Debt. Yeah. A girlfriend, you can’t leave, a pet that you can’t leave. Okay. Lots of material things that you have to deal with so that you can literally throw everything you need in a bag and go to wherever you have to go. Whenever you have to go, no car, as long as you, I said, because baggage is what limits your choices. You have a kid that becomes the priority, not you, right? So if you can want to take a shot at this, try to avoid baggage and you’ll need less money to survive, you’ll have more flexibility. And what happened is just serendipity. What happens? They both, the first jobs moved to Amsterdam move to Amsterdam.
Jonathan V.: Because they had that flexibility.
Larry Meyers: Yeah. They just literally threw their stuff in a bag. And went.
Jonathan V.: I’m curious as to what else might’ve gotten them so comfortable with risk. And it seems like the advice that you gave them at that point in time was certainly probably a large part of it.
Larry Meyers: Well, I think obviously you’re talking to me and I’m telling you anecdotes, but I think a lot of their appetite for risk pro or con is in their personality. And there were a lot more influences than me, but it’s interesting because Seth is the most risk-averse person. He’s cautious. He was a cautious child. He wouldn’t climb up on things. He wasn’t in a big hurry to walk. Josh much more aggressive. And Josh has gotten hurt a lot more. And when Josh gets hurt, it actually irritates Seth that he would get hurt because Seth said, I would never do that.
Jonathan V.: Interesting. Not that he’s upset that his brother is hurt that, but rather that he put himself in that situation.
Larry Meyers: And I’ll tell you two quick stories. We were in New York at Saturday Night Live. And it was the day after a Sunday morning. And we’re meeting Seth for breakfast, that we would meet him in a corner in front of his apartment, in the village. And he says, all right. So, I got to tell you something. He says, first of all, Josh is all right.
Jonathan V.: Wow. I don’t think you want to hear any conversations start like that.
Larry Meyers: He was in Mexico at a wedding and he was zip-lining. And when he got to the end of the zip lining thing and they were lowering him down, they forgot, they didn’t secure the thing properly. And they dropped him about 25 feet. And he broke his leg and he cracked some vertebrae and he, he did some other things and he was in Mexico and he had to come back to LA and have surgery and so forth and so on. And, but the zip lining thing, Seth would, he would just, he was disgusted that he had to tell us because he knew it would upset us of course, but because he would never do that zip lining in Mexico, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t do that. And I remember what I told you, we went on vacation. So we were up in wine country. We were trying to figure out what to do. And I always wanted to go hot air ballooning. So I said, Oh, that’s one of the things we can do up there.
But it became apparent when we got there through in Healdsburg, California, that there was really no strong appetite among my family to do it. Josh would have done it with me, but I could see, I was kind of pushing him. So I said, okay, we’re not going to do that. I said, here’s another thing we can do. We can go horseback riding in the Redwood forest, and Seth says enough and enough. He goes, what this horseback riding and hot air ballooning have in common. I go, I don’t know. He goes, here’s what they have in common. You don’t have any control. He said, we don’t know how to ride horses. We don’t have any control over a horse. We don’t have any control. He said, imagine how stupid you’d feel if you were in a hot air balloon and things started going wrong. He goes, he goes, it’s ridiculous. He says, no control. We’re not done with it.
And we ended up going canoeing down the Russian river. We ended up canoeing down the Russian river. And that was acceptable because we had controls our own canoes and we stopped and had lunch and sat in the field and Seth got the worst case of poison Ivy he ever had. And so I guess Josh was fine. So yeah, but Seth was, is as cautious, very conservative and careful. And Josh has been a little bit more gregarious and aggressive. So the risk appetites are not identical.
Jonathan V.: I guess not. Wow. And then after all of that risk avoidance ending up with the worst case of poison Ivy ever.
Larry Meyers: Yeah. It was so bad that when he got back to NBC and went to the NBC doctors, they said, you really shouldn’t have flown that’s how bad this was. It was so swollen.
Jonathan V.: It sounds just like a wonderful family environment. I mean, to have the connectivity that you have today, but the laughter and fun and close family activities that you had while the kids were growing up, seems like it would really lay a terrific foundation for that family unity. That seems like it’s been sustained.
Larry Meyers: Yeah, I think so. I think we’re all very close. I mean, this is the first Thanksgiving in our lives as parents that we weren’t altogether because of the pandemic. You know, I think we saw Josh in September, end of September, but, you know, we hadn’t seen him since Christmas, which is probably the longest we’d ever gone without seeing him. So it’s you know, this 2020 has been a very odd year.
Jonathan V.: Yeah. The oddest at least in, in modern history, just a couple more questions. One is, what’s something that you learned from your kids or from being a father in general?
Larry Meyers: Being a father is the only thing that I will do in my life that matters. Because if you think about your job, my job, whatever we do work is can have a lot of interests. It can be rewarding apart from the financial aspects of it, people need money to live. It can be interesting and it can be rewarding, but most work doesn’t matter what I do. Doesn’t matter. I work for a bank. I finance supply chains. So what, it won’t matter in the long-term, somebody else would have done it, or it would have been done a different way unless you’re healing the sick or dealing with people that have some spiritual need or something where you’re actually touching people in a way that matters to them within the walls of their skin. I don’t think most jobs matter. That’s not to say that they fill up so much of our time and we need to earn money. And I like my job. You probably like your job, but at the end of the day, let’s be honest. It’s not that important. What we’re doing here.
Jonathan V.: Well, last question is really very open-ended. Is there anything else that we didn’t cover that you would like to add?
Larry Meyers: I’ll just end with this last story. This goes back to the way I said he did his work in school. In High school, he had to write a paper on Vietnam and he was dating a young woman who was very bright, ended up going to Princeton, but she was one of these people that was very organized and she had everything sorted out and color-coded note cards. And the night before the paper was due, she had finished her paper probably days ahead of time. And he borrowed her note cards. And again, you could hear him typing in here. Now this was a longer paper cause he was a senior in high school, maybe 10 pages, eight pages, whatever it was. And you know, he got an A and I said, man, you know, you’re lucky that you got an A because you just waited till the last minute to write this paper. And what he said to me, and I think this has stayed with him in his professional career. He goes, when they tell you to write a paper, they want you to tell them a story he said, and that’s what you do when you write, you tell a story. And I think that’s the way he writes his stand-up, his stories. He’s relating every story that he tells you is based in some reality. And that’s the kind of a comedian that he is, he’s a storyteller.
Jonathan V.: Well, it’s served him well, and he has just hysterical and fun and interesting in Josh’s as well. He’s done some great work.
Larry Meyers: Absolutely. As I say, I think he’s got a very quick and very sharp, very sharp, wit much more biting. Yeah. Josh, Josh has his wit can slice you up a little bit, but I find him to be tremendously quick, very quick. Yeah.
Jonathan V.: Larry, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.
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Larry Meyers: It’s great to talk to you. Thanks for the opportunity and all the best.