Late-night television is slowly getting back to how we used to know it. On Monday’s episode of The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon excitedly welcomed the program’s first studio audience in over a year.
Taking a cue from Saturday Night Live, which has had an in-person audience for several months now, the late-night show invited a group of first responders and healthcare workers, who were masked and practicing social distancing, to sit in the audience.
“Please give me a minute to soak up this audience,” a suited-up Fallon, who was clearly emotional, said upon taking the stage at 30 Rock’s Studio 6B in New York City. “I’ve never been so excited to do a show for 15 people in my entire life. After last year, this is like performing at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.”
Fallon joked that in addition to the people watching in the studio, there was also a “family of raccoons that live in my desk.”
Check out Fallon’s monologue:
The Tonight Show, who will have first responders and healthcare workers in the audience for the remainder of the week, is the first weekly late-night program to bring back in-person spectators.
After Monday’s taping, Fallon expressed his excitement for the small sense of normalcy, tweeting, “I can’t describe the feeling of performing in front of a live audience. We work well together. I missed it so much. Thank you.”
I can’t describe the feeling of performing in front of a live audience. We work well together. I missed it so much. Thank you. @[email protected]/t3DgMwo7f1
Andy Cohen, who was a guest on Monday’s Tonight Show, was also thrilled about the live studio audience.
“It’s still more than double the size of my normal audience,” the Watch What Happens Live host quipped.
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