"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” returned to its Rockefeller Center studio this week, sans audience and with its host, house band and small stage crew all taking precautions.
"As you can see, we are back in the studio," Fallon, 45, told viewers Monday night, adding, "As a New Yorker, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped get us back to where we are now — wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, quarantining, it all helps. And to all the states going through the tough parts right now … I know how hard it is and I'm not going to lie to you, it's rough. 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."
The comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" star assured, "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 six feet apart. … When I got in this morning, I had a temperature check, I did the nose swab test. … Once I was cleared I could go to my office." Noting NBC's commitment to "making sure everyone here feels safe," he held up an apparent janitorial card, reading, "This area has been cleaned & disinfected."
Guests Charlize Theron, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and musical guest Little Big Town all appeared via remote video. "New York is really open now that you're doing your show again," Cuomo, 62, jocularly told Fallon. "We went through hell and back, as you know, in New York," the governor said, cautioning that, "The infection is now all across the country and it's going crazy. And we're just worried that the infection is going to come from the other states now back to New York, which would be a real tragedy."
The bachelor governor found a moment for humor about his love life, saying in response to a question, "I'm at Phase 0 on dating." He added with a laugh, "There's no duration on Phase 0. There is no automatic time that you go to Phase 1. … I think New York City will be fully reopened before I get out of phase 0 on dating!"
Fallon in his introduction had noted, "Any type of normalcy feels great. So hopefully we can put a smile on your face for an hour every night and let you sit back and relax while we try to bring you just a little bit of normal. These are the hardest times to do comedy but they’re also the time where we need it the most. Maybe that's why comedy was invented."
The most recent two studio episodes had run March 11, with an audience, and March 12, without. The show then went into reruns, and began its "At Home Edition" on March 17 — initially premiering on YouTube and then broadcasting that night as part of a "Tonight Show" rerun and, later, attached to "Best of Fallon" segments before eventually serving as entire episodes.