Jimmy Fallon returned to "The Tonight Show" on Monday with taped...

Jimmy Fallon returned to "The Tonight Show" on Monday with taped segments with Matthew McConaughey and John Mayer. Credit: NBC / Andrew Lipovsky

Late-night talk shows have returned to the air after a five-month absence brought on by the Hollywood writers strike, while actors completed the first day of talks that could end their own long work walk-off.

CBS' “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” ABC's “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and NBC's “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” were the first shows to leave the air when the writers strike began on May 2, and were among the first to return with fresh airings Monday night.

Colbert blew a leaping kiss to his audience, which chanted his name as he took the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater in midtown Manhattan for the early evening taping of his show that airs at 11:35 p.m.

“It feels good to be back,” the host said. “Now the writers strike is over with a new contract that includes protections against A.I., cost-of-living increases, better pay for streaming, plus, thanks to the picket lines, my writers got fresh air and sunshine, and they do not care for that. Now they’re back safely in their joke holes.”

In a cold open to his show, Kimmel was shown on a psychiatrist's couch.

“The strike has been going on so long, I just don't know if I'll be back,” Kimmel said. The shot then revealed that the therapist was his first guest Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared, in a variation on his best-known catchphrase: “You'll be back.”

Fallon taped segments for his show with Matthew McConaughey and John Mayer. He then said a third guest would be Bono from U2, who played the opening of the new Sphere venue in Las Vegas over the weekend.

A phony Bono came out encased in a small sphere. The bit fell flat, and Fallon suggested it might take some time to shake the rust off.

“I should mention not all the writers are back,” he said.

Seth Meyers, the former “Saturday Night Live” head writer whose show follows Fallon’s, praised the union’s negotiators for the deal they won, and the chance to return.

“I am so happy to be back in a room with my writers, everybody. I missed my writers so much,” he said. Then joked, “I will admit by lunch I was a little over it.”

Colbert, who opened the show alone in the ocean singing a sea shanty, met up with a dolphin who helped get him caught up on the most important news. After the animal "spoke" to the host in its native clicks and whistles, Colbert replied, "Really, she's dating Travis Kelce? I think this is the one." The reference, of course, was to the NFL tight end for the Kansas City team and his rumored romantic partner, pop superstar Taylor Swift.

Colbert also lamented having been unable to weigh in with jokes for so many months.

“I believe we have been off the air for 154 indictments," he said. “It was a crazy summer to be off. It was just packed with events.”

Meanwhile, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists began negotiations Monday with the same group, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, for the first time since they joined writers in a historic dual strike on July 14. The two sides will resume talks Wednesday.

The writers were allowed to return to work last week after the Writers Guild of America reached an agreement on a three-year contract with an alliance of the industry's biggest studios, streaming services and production companies.

With Newsday Staff

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