Seth Meyers’ House Band Falls Victim to Budget Cuts

When Seth Meyers and his guests make their way onto the Late Night stage this fall, it will be with a lot less musical fanfare.

Late Tuesday, Vulture reported that members of the 8G Band—the show’s live house band, who are occasionally fronted by Fred Armisen and have been with Late Night since Meyers took over 10 years ago—have been given their pink slips. 

The decision to do away with a live band, a staple of late-night shows from practically the very beginning, is said to be a budgetary decision. It’s just one part of a “revamp” that will see Late Night change the way a few of its standard practices are handled. 

The band’s keyboardist, Eli Janney, spoke with Vulture about the decision, which they learned about more than a month ago. And he made it clear that there are no hard feelings. 

“Basically Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker, the showrunner, brought us in in person to talk about it,” Janney explained. “They expressed their regret and frustration about it. They had been trying to work it out for months, but in the end NBC was adamant about where they wanted the budget to go. It’s not just the band; there’s a whole crew that works with the band, so there’s a lot of people employed. I think this was an easy way for them to cut the budget. Easy is not the right word.”

As the band prepares for their final day, “There’s a lot of strong emotions,” says Janney. “Seth has been a big champion of ours from the get-go. They couldn’t have been nicer about it. They told us probably about a month ago—maybe six weeks. That’s a good more than 90 days to figure out what’s next for us, so that’s pretty nice.”

While Janney has not been told about what will happen in the band’s absence, he doesn’t believe they’re going to be missing from the show altogether. 

“We’re still going to make music for them, but we just won’t be playing it live,” Janney explained. “So that will continue. That’s one nice thing they’ve worked out. We’re just going to record a whole bunch of them and then update it periodically to keep things fresh.”


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  1. Shawn says:

    Not mentioned is the loss of the very unique weekly Guest Drummer. So many “lesser known” drummers got much needed exposure for 4 nights.

    1. Jennifer M. Wood says:

      Great point. Since they’ll still be making music—just not live on stage—hopefully this will continue, with attribution clearly given. While not as powerful as seeing the person perform live, hopefully still a great platform for musical talents.

  2. Chris says:

    When Fred is there for the week and Seth asks him about something that he was involved in, the improv between them is comedy gold. I’m going to miss that.

  3. Tim Carter says:

    if Jay Leno was their boss, he would have taken a pay cut to keep them employed! Unfortunately their boss is more greedy.