The Late Night with Seth Meyers star's Peacock show launches tonight, airing Friday evenings with no guests after taping on Friday mornings. "Late night was never a dream of mine," Ruffin tells Variety. “I watched late night, and I loved late night. But you know, you have to see it to be it, and I didn’t see it. I was like, ‘Okay, I hope these white men are having a great time!’ But I never assumed that that might ever be me.” Since Ruffin is on a streaming service and feels no real allegiance to the late-night format, she promises what she refers to as Ruffin Show will be something genuinely new with an emphasis on sketches over straight monologues. “The problem with a lot of late night shows is that they do adhere to this form,” she says, “and then they can only talk about the big important things in these little segments. We will be able to make our segments as big or as small as (they need to be). We can do eight segments on the same thing!” She pauses, raises an eyebrow at herself, grins wide. “Ooh, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe we’ll do that.”
Amber Ruffin loves that she can stick with her Late Night job while hosting her own show: "I love NBC. I love staying in our NBC family," she says. "I love the fact that because it is still NBC, I can stay at Late Night and I can literally be at my same desk and the work will feel very similar. It'll take place in Seth's studio, right in front of Seth's studio. They'll bring it in on Fridays and we'll shoot the show. So I like it because it's a huge step to have your own show, but when it's at work and everything is the same and it's still your same little friends, it's not that big a leap at all."
Ruffin says a weekly show is advantageous: "I think it will play to our advantage because if you’re only doing a show once a week, then you get to pick what’s important in the week. But if you do it every day, then you are tied to only the things that happen that day. Everything that happened yesterday, you already covered. At the end of the week, we’re lucky because we get to pick and choose what we think makes fun sketches and bits."
Ruffin on her past failures to get a show on NBC: "A couple years ago, we put together a show idea, and it didn’t go. But then NBC came to us and were like, hey, there’s this thing called Peacock. Can we do that show you pitched a while ago?" Was she disappointed when NBC passed on her show? "It was their fourth pass on me, sir, so I’m good. I’ve sold them three pilots, one of which we shot. At least with this, it was just a pitch document. Unlike a sitcom, you don’t have to spend a year writing it and rewriting. You just pitch it, like: It’s a late-night show. Do you want it? No? Cool."