Late Night, Big Storm, Empty Studio: Fallon and Letterman Tape Hurricane Shows Without Audiences

Late-night hosts made the best of eerily quiet studios

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As Sandy ripped through New York City yesterday, only two of the late-night talk shows that tape in the area—and one, Jimmy Kimmel Live, that usually tapes on the West Coast but planned an ill-timed East Coast visit—went ahead as planned. Or almost as planned.

(MORE: Sandy Watch: On TV, Raining Rumors, Wet Reporters and A Few Dry Jokes)

Both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman filmed shows that had all the usual elements except the audience. Letterman’s “what would have been funny if we had an audience” non-monologue was a bit deflated, but Fallon’s actual monologue, with spaces left for where an audience might have laughed, had a few highlights. As is often the case, an impression is Fallon’s strongest go-to, and his John Travolta circa Grease is a Thunderbird of an impersonation—plus, we bet he’s actually right that the song he calls “Stranded at the Drive-In” (which is actually called “Sandy,” not to be confused with the show’s lesser-known groove “Alone At The Drive-In Movie”) will now be remembered as the soundtrack to not just teen love but also to natural disaster.

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