Even in the middle of a hurricane, the show must go on–in the world of late-night talk shows, at least. Both David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon shoot their shows in New York (Jay Leno and the others are over in California) and the two hosts showed up to work yesterday. Their audiences didn’t show up, though.
Rather, the audiences for both shows were told to stay home. New York City was, essentially, shut down (and still is) due to Hurricane Sandy, so it would have been unsafe for the tourists and others who make up the audiences for shows like The Late Show and Late Night to venture over to the CBS and NBC studios to take in a taping.
Interestingly, though, none of the guest who were scheduled to appear on the shows canceled.
Letterman and Fallon both seemed to relish the chance to shoot a show with no audience. As is often the case, the extenuating circumstances led to some pretty great comedy.
Instead of doing his normal monologue, Letter man sat behind his desk and read through some of the jokes he would have told, had there been an audience there to take them in:
Fallon recorded a cold open (literally) in which he stood out in the rain and revealed that his show would be audience-less. He then went inside and did his monologue, with only his band and crew as the audience. The lack of laughter after his punchlines is pretty bizarre:
Based on reports of the conditions in NYC this morning, and the fact that the subway system is apparently flooded and won’t reopen this week, these hosts might have to get used to the idea of taping shows in front of empty chairs.