It was hardly business as normal, but it was a step in the right direction when Jimmy Fallon returned to Rockefeller Center to host “The Tonight Show” Monday night as New York City, a coronavirus hot spot at the height the pandemic, continues its recovery.
The episode opened with a taped intro featuring Fallon commuting to work in the city while taking the necessary precautions. Once the show began, Fallon, dressed casually in black pants, a black sweater and white sneakers, sat on a stool to address viewers from the studio, which featured house band The Roots but no audience.
He thanked everyone for wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and quarantining while also wishing his best to the states currently experiencing surges in cases.
“I know how hard it is and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s rough,” he said. “But I guess I’m here to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we all do our part to keep each other safe.”
Fallon discussed how “any type of normalcy feels great” and his mission to provide some semblance of it through laughter.
“These are the hardest times to do comedy, but they’re also the times when we need it the most,” he said.
Fallon, who is the first late-night host to resume studio production, also reminded viewers that his crew was taking the necessary precautions.
“We here at ‘The Tonight Show’ always want to bring you the best show possible, and that means having the safest show possible,” he said. “Everyone here in the studio has tested negative for COVID, and all of our crew are wearing masks and face shields and we’re all 6 feet apart.”
“We are taking this very seriously,” he added.
He then explained what steps he took when he arrived at work, including a temperature check and a nose swab test.
He also said there were signs throughout his office indicating various areas have been cleaned and disinfected. “This was truly done the safest way possible,” he said.
“The show is gonna be a little different than what you’re used to,” he said while noting there was no audience and the show's guests will be streamed from their homes.
“But what we want you to know is that we are here for you and we are slowly and safely getting back to work and back to whatever normal is.”