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VIDEO | Seth Meyers Tells His Audience He Loves Them Every Night

Seth Meyers

With everything we’ve gone through over the past few years, it can be easy to forget just how quickly things fell apart in New York in March 2020, when the state went from zero Covid cases to being fully shut down (aside from operations labeled essential) within 3 weeks. 

Things moved so quickly that Late Night and The Tonight Show announced on March 11 that they would tape without audiences the following week — and on March 12, they announced that they were suspending production indefinitely. The other NYC late-night shows made the decision around the same time.

The Tonight Show taped that day without a studio audience but Late Night’s guests canceled, leading to Seth Meyers performing his first staff-only casual-dress segment as a digital exclusive. (Looking back, you can see the seeds of the post-attic staff-only shows.) 

He closed off the segment with a plea: 

So, like I said, everybody, we do not know when we're gonna be back. We would just ask all of you out there to please stay safe, stay healthy. Let's not try to panic and let's try to be there for everybody. We love you all. Thank you for watching.

The show returned to YouTube with A Closer Look at Seth’s upstairs hallway on March 23. Seth updated his outro to include a callback: 

We will see you soon. Stay safe. Wash your hands, and remember — the beach sucks.

He changed his outro to “Stay safe. Wash your hands. We love you” on March 26 and it stuck, besides the addition of “wear a mask” over the summer. As I went out of my mind sitting alone all day in my tiny Manhattan apartment, drinking bottom-shelf wine straight from the bottle and trying to figure out how to escape furlough purgatory, that outro became my lifeline to a more compassionate world than the one I was witnessing on the news every day. 

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. We love you. 

I wasn’t alone, judging by the amount of viewers who took to the YouTube comments section to share how much the message meant to them. And I also wasn’t alone in feeling mournful on Sept. 8, 2020, when the show returned to studio and the outro disappeared. Hundreds of people commented on that week’s segments decrying the loss of “we love you.” By the following Monday, it had returned via a pre-recording. (If there’s one thing Seth Meyers is gonna do, it’s read the YouTube comments.)

As we approach our fourth year of a pandemic most are pretending is over, the outro has remained a consistent reminder of some of the most basic things we can do to take care of one another, and a reminder that we’re not alone: “Stay safe. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. We love you.”*

Late Night stopped appending the outro to “A Closer Look” when they added a promo on Sept. 14 to encourage voter registration, but Seth still squeezes it into the broadcast every night, even if he has to speed run through it before the local news cuts him off. I thought international fans and other Jackals who only watch the show on YouTube might like to see it again. Watch below. 

*Protect yourself and those around you by masking indoors and in crowded settings, getting your bivalent booster and pushing your elected officials to invest in and subsidize better indoor ventilation. It may not feel like a big deal if you’ve already had Covid or are fully vaccinated, but millions of people in this country have disabilities that put them at risk of severe illness or death — including everyone who has already had Covid. 

Even if you don’t have a disability right now — even if you’re boosted — you can catch the virus multiple times, and every time you get Covid makes you more likely to develop chronic health problems. That can have debilitating long-term consequences even in perfectly healthy millennials, Gen Zers and whatever the youngest one is called. I know it can feel scary and overwhelming to accept that things aren’t normal, but we have to take care of one another, friends. 

I’ll leave you with this: Why is the public being led to believe the pandemic is over while the most wealthy, powerful people in the world require strict anti-Covid precautions be taken to get anywhere near them

You deserve better. 

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Get boosted. Tax the rich. Unionize. I love you. 

<3 Stephanie