This was going to be a post dedicated to Seth Meyers and his last night on “Saturday Night Live” last night, but it seems that given the circumstances I should include something else here.
First, here’s the link to Seth’s emotional and well-done last appearance on SNL. Amy Poehler and Bill Hader’s Stefon came to bid their friend farewell as well as Andy Samberg. I was doing OK right up until both Cecily and Amy started with the waterworks. In my personal opinion (remember I watch A LOT of SNL) it was one of the best send-offs they have done in a while. Not too long, not too short. Not awkward. No dancing. No over-the-top nonsense. Just Seth being Seth, which is really why we love him. And, after all, it’s not really goodbye. We will be seeing Seth very soon five nights a week on “Late Night.” Plus his studio is just a short walk away from the historic 8H studio. It’s true what all his friends were tweeting last night; he is one of the best writers the show has ever had.
If that didn’t give you enough of a reason to cry, we were braced with some very sad news this morning. Phillip Seymour Hoffman has passed. Like so many geniuses before him, Seymour Hoffman got caught in the dangerous addiction-ridden career. However, I will not remember him for that. I will remember him for his work. He was probably a super weird dude, but as an actor he was one of the best of this century.
Seymour Hoffman holds a special place in my heart because he just happened to play two of my favorite roles in any movies ever. First, he played a beautifully crafted version of world-famous rock critic Lester Bangs in my all time favorite “Almost Famous.” He, along with Cameron Crowe’s brilliance and the general idea of the whole film, made me realize that I wanted to be a writer. I’ll never forget his character’s words of advice; “That’s because we’re uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don’t have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we’re smarter.” It was Cameron’s words, but good old PSH made them believable.
Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my many obsessions is the ridiculous Truman Capote. I can’t learn enough information about him. It’s probably not healthy. One of the best biopics out there is “Capote” in which Seymour Hoffman doesn’t just play, but embodies the weird genius that was Truman Capote. He changed his voice and his mannerisms to become a man that was his complete opposite. There has never been a better earned Oscar than that one. Not only was the performance history-making, but the film actually shows “In Cold Blood” in the light that it should be seen in. It also exposes a very difficult truth about Capote’s relationship with the two murderers (you can go look up that controversy yourself). It’s a little more than eerie that I’m currently reading the true crime-thriller for one of my English classes.
So, thank you Seth Meyers for inspiring me to be a better writer and thank you for bringing me so many laughs on all those sucky high school Saturday nights. And thank you Phillip Seymour Hoffman for being a fearless artist and playing two real life characters that have had a significant influence on my life and my own work. He’ll be greatly missed, but pretty damn hard to forget.
I’ll leave you with one more PSH’s character quotes, this time channeling Capote. “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” Originally written by Capote himself in his last unfinished work before he died. After “In Cold Blood,” Capote could never finish another book (I’m guessing that’s because he went crazy becoming friends and writing about murderers though). Seymour Hoffman was the one to remind us of Capote’s genius. Thanks for teaching us it’s OK to be uncool PSH. You will be truly missed. RIP.