Late Night Gets 'Deeply Weird' Amid Coronavirus

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon went without studio audience; Pete Buttigieg did, too
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
Late Night Gets 'Deeply Weird' Amid Coronavirus
Pete Buttigieg takes over for Jimmy Kimmel.   (YouTube)

Thursday was "one of the longest days ever," per the Washington Post, capped off with late-night TV with no studio audiences—just staffers, friends, and family. After a seeming avalanche of cancellations and closings across the nation due to the new coronavirus, Stephen Colbert hosted his CBS Late Show in front of just a few employees, where things got "deeply weird" as Colbert sipped bourbon, leaped around the stage, and screamed at the coronavirus. "I've had a little too much of this stuff over here, I think," he said, referencing his drink. Meanwhile, on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Pete Buttigieg filled in for Kimmel, and the ex-Oval Office candidate made the best of things. "It's disappointing, because as you all know, I love to crowd-surf," Buttigieg joked before interviewing Sir Patrick Stewart. "When you don't have a real audience, you have to fake one. Just like Trump's inauguration," Buttigieg said.

On Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show on NBC, the host was more serious, noting, "I'm just as confused and freaked out as you are. ... But what I do know is when we're there for each other, we're at our best. And I am here for you." Deadline reports four New York City-based shows—Colbert's and Fallon's, as well as Late Night with Seth Meyers and Wendy Williams' syndicated program—have since decided to temporarily halt production, as a state of emergency has been declared in New York. The first three shows are on hold until March 30, Williams' show "until further notice." Bill Maher tweeted he's also put his HBO show on hiatus. A slew of other shows are, for now, nixing their live studio audiences, including The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. It's unclear if these programs will soon shutter temporarily as well. (More coronavirus stories.)

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