One of the silver linings of the pandemic shows was talking about the writing staff more as part of the show’s cinematic universe. We’ve built this cast of characters. Trying to keep that connection as we started getting audiences back in was a really important part of our show.

The most unique (and wonderful) thing about Late Night with Seth Meyers is that the show has built a world of inside jokes, running gags and over-the-top characters so layered and all-encompassing that viewers can follow the development of the show from week to week almost as if they were watching a sitcom — and there’s so much detail that even the most dedicated of viewers are bound to miss a detail here or there. That’s why this handy guide will be updated regularly, so you never have to miss a beat.

Whether you’ve been watching all things Late Night with Seth Meyers since 2014 or just caught your first Corrections last week, you’ll be able to find something interesting in The Ultimate Guide to the Late Night Cinematic Universe. Below, you’ll find timelines of in-universe events, inside jokes and running bits, character descriptions, backstory and more. 

A common view within the Jackal community is that Late Night has developed a meta late-night show, with a slightly unhinged host, a cast of colorful characters and a series of absurd in-universe events that tend to travel back and forth between Corrections and the main show. Everything on latenightist is written from that perspective.

Prior to the At-Home Era, we mostly only saw Late Night’s final product: a polished talk show with a besuited host and eager audience. The broadcast trappings getting stripped away in March 2020 opened a window for viewers into the broader world of Late Night, though, and Seth Meyers and his team created an entire universe behind it that turned into another layer of the show.

We got to know a universe full of exaggerated characters like Mikey the Shoe and Cue Card Wally, where Seth plays a super neurotic but well-meaning host who only just keeps a handle on the chaos around him at all times. When LNSM returned to studio, we got to watch as these characters worked their way through it. And — most importantly — when the audience returned, the “formerly sane” Late Night team left the window into that universe open.

The Late Night team created the universe intentionally; Seth has spoken about how the staff caricatures and their storylines, the running gags and callbacks to earlier shows, were all a direct outgrowth of realizing that the home audience watches every day and would be able to appreciate the comedy regardless of what the studio audience grasps. Seth has also said that sometimes the LNSM team includes jokes in broadcast that they know will likely not go over well in-studio, just for the benefit of the audience at home.

Important Moments in Late Night with Seth Meyers History

By latenightist’s count, Late Night has gone through five distinct eras during its 8 years with Seth Meyers as host. 

Below are the major events in Late Night with Seth Meyers history.

Feb. 2014–Aug. 2015
Feb. 24, 2014
Sept. 2, 2014
Aug. 2015–Mar. 2020