From The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to Desus & Mero to Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, late-night shows seem to be doing just fine without having to play to a studio audience. "The bottom line is, these shows aren’t really lacking, at least from a viewer’s perspective," says Lea Palmieri. "Samantha Bee was still able to try and save the US Postal Service while broadcasting from upstate New York, Stephen Colbert has given us interviews with notable pop culture and political figures in a way that reminds us he’s probably the only person who has actually read all the books stacked up behind him, Conan O’Brien’s hair is living its best life, Seth Meyers’ dog Frisbee was even able to make an appearance recently, and Jimmy Kimmel’s given us the best of both worlds which means his passionate pleas when the country needs them most, and also an interview with Dakota Johnson over the fence their two homes share. We’re sadly a longer time away than anticipated from bringing back live studio audiences to these shows, but what if…they just didn’t bring them back at all? I know, for some that’s a blasphemous question to propose. Of course there’s been a precedent set that late night shows have live audiences simply because that’s how it’s always been done. But if you haven’t heard yet, these times are as unprecedented as it gets, and that will continue to be the case for many months to come. Both the restrictions and innovations these shows have put into place could become long-term elements of their productions. For one, the relaxed and casual nature these shows have taken on, accidentally or purposefully, is not a bad one. Almost all the hosts have proven to be less hammy and more authentic, or at least showing us more of their true selves — you know, the ones we tune in to see. Who says these shows have to be such high energy with loud music and louder cheering? We’re trying to go to bed! 'Oh, but it’s part of the tradition!' Sure…but it’s also clear it might not be necessary moving forward." Palmieri adds that late-night shows are unlikely to scrap audiences, though they aren't really a big deal. "It’s understandable that the hosts want the energy and atmosphere for the show and their performances and might not want to completely defy tradition," she says.
TOPICS: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Conan, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Desus & Mero, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Coronavirus, Late Night