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Late night shows are back: How hosts like Colbert, Fallon and Meyers are pulling it off

American hosts of late night shows are shooting from make-shift studios at home as they cover a range of issues in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Delhi: The show must go on, and it has for late night American TV show hosts like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel.

With the lockdown forcing everyone indoors, the hosts shot and produced shows from makeshift studios at home, roping in family members to fill in for the usual studio hands.

The US currently has the most number active cases of coronavirus in the world — over 1.8 lakh people have been infected — resulting in TV and film studios being shut down. As the uncertainty around the pandemic grows, TV show hosts have adapted.

Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien are among those who have broken their hiatus and returned with their shows this week. Addressing topics such as the pandemic, how the Trump administration is dealing with it, the US’ crumbling healthcare system and the upcoming presidential elections, the shows deal with a wide range of issues.

Also read: Why coronavirus will usher in a new era of movies, sports and TV shows

A Late Show

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert returned on 30 March as A Late Show, with the host’s children serving as the camera operator and make-up stylist. He opened with this reassuring statement: “I know a lot of you are stressed because we’re all in isolation, and no one knows how long this is going to last, but I have a simple message for you: America, you got this.”

Colbert also voiced his doubts over Trump’s accusations against medical workers hoarding supplies.

Between his last shoot on 13 March, and the latest show, Colbert also released a monologue on 16 March about social distancing. “To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, ask not what your country can do for you, ask how many episodes of Love Is Blind you can watch in one sitting,” he had said.

A Closer Look

Seth Meyers’ comeback, A Closer Look, was aired from his study. Meyers focussed on the political front, and featured an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. An interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren is scheduled to follow.

Decimating Trump’s response to the coronavirus and his reluctance to deploy more ventilators, Meyers said, “So, you couldn’t spare a few billion for emergency medical supplies and ventilators as a deadly virus was spreading, but you had trillions lying around for a massive corporate tax cut a few years ago?”

Also read: Cancelled sex parties, quarantine porn, kissing ban — how coronavirus is killing sex life

The other shows

Kimmel, Fallon and O’Brien chose to keep things light and breezy.

“These shows we’re going to do are going to tell you nothing. They will contain no information. None whatsoever. You’ll probably be stupider after you see these shows than you were before. I’m just telling you upfront. All I can promise you is this will be a highly unprofessional endeavour, night after night,” said O’Brien.

For his week, Kimmel has lined up celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, and Grouplove. However, in between, he released a series of interviews to raise funds for various charitable causes. One of these interviews featured presidential candidate Joe Biden, in which the two spoke about life under quarantine.

Fallon interviewed celebrities Jennifer Garner, Trevor Noah, John Legend, Niall Horan, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Jon Bon Jovi, Kim Kardashian, and more. He also did a segment celebrating St. Patrick’s Day under quarantine.

John Oliver, who made headlines in India for his recent episode on Prime Minister Modi and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami, returned with a show on 29 March. He talked about UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson testing positive, India’s nationwide lockdown and how those defying it were being punished “with sticks and squats”, and Italy’s mayors releasing videos reprimanding citizens for stepping out amid the pandemic.

Other shows such as The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Desus & Mero, and Lights Out with David Spade also put out episodes.

Also read: Is there enough on Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon to see us through coronavirus isolation?


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