You know that old existential riddle about a tree falling in a forest? Well, here’s the show biz equivalent. If a late night comic does his monologue in front of an empty room, is it still funny?
That’s what happened last night as Jimmy Fallon went ahead with his show after sending home his audience. As he suggests in the opening, on the eerily empty streets of Midtown Manhattan, “Imagine laughter; imagine fun; imagine excitement.”
Pretty surreal, right? The only person you can hear laughing is loyal announcer Steve Higgins, which somehow makes the atmosphere even stranger.
Among the East Coast late night show hosts, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert cancelled. David Letterman, like Fallon, elected to go on with the show, but without an audience. Perhaps most disappointingly, visiting Jimmy Kimmel was forced to call off the first of his highly anticipated shows from Brooklyn.
Tough break, slugger.