After a few planned summer hiatus’s, late-night television returned this week with a ton of fun surprises, including one big return to the 30 Rock studio!
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon kicked off the week by being the first of the late-night shows to return to their studio since the pandemic forced them all to broadcast remotely. Not gonna lie, while it was definitely nice to see Fallon back in the saddle – with The Roots present, but keeping a safe distance, of course – things aren’t quite back to normal.
The biggest indicator: no live studio audience, although the band did provide some much-needed laughter that’s been missing from late-night for months. Also, all interviews will still be conducted via video call, as Fallon’s first guest NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo discovered.
Fallon took the changes in stride, even making the awkwardness of returning to 30 Rock into a parody song set to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.” And even though the lyrics hilarious pointed out all the ways we’re not really there yet, honestly, it was still wonderful seeing Fallon back on that legendary stage!
Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel welcomed several guest hosts this week while he’s on vacation, including two powerhouse women! Comedians Iliza Shlesinger and Whitney Cummings each took a turn in the hosting chair.
Shlesinger was up first bringing her signature voice impressions to late night. The seasoned comedian took a different route for the opening monologue by focusing almost entirely on one topic, and a hot one at that: cancel culture.
Boy, did she dive headfirst saying right off the bat, “I jumped at the chance to say something that potentially ends my career.” Needless to say, her career is safe, if not even enhanced by bringing funny and meaningful commentary to a tough issue.
Whitney Cummings was up next as Kimmel’s fill-in, and she brought her famous bite to the segment, “The Roast of Maskless Idiots.” Yep, the roastmaster herself took shots at people who refuse to participate in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Cummings certainly didn’t hold back going after a group of “Karens” and a man wearing toilet paper rolls as a hat – all unmasked, by the way.
This summer may look a bit different, for us and for late-night television, but at least the shows are providing a way to laugh during these unprecedented times.
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