Much of the East may have been without electrical power Monday night – as Hurricane Sandy exerted her strength and, in the words of The New York Times, left “a region crippled” – but one thing remained: star power.
NBC’s Late Night host Jimmy Fallon took to 50th Street outside his Rockefeller Center studio in midtown Manhattan right before Sandy hit to record the introduction to his show.
Though he said there would be no live in-studio audience, “All of our guests came,” said Fallon, “which was big for us. We were worried that we weren’t going to get guests, but we got some good ones here.”
Then, as the TV host came in out of the winds and entered 30 Rock, he ticked off their names: SNL‘s Seth Meyers, Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi, Forrest Gump and Flight director Robert Zemeckis (Fallon noted that Denzel Washington shows his butt in the movie) and musical guests Imagine Dragons (“They’re so good”) and his house band The Roots.
“You are the audience,” he said into the camera, “imagine the laughter, imagine the fun.”
He was decidedly more animated than David Letterman, who jogged into the empty Ed Sullivan Theater and delivered his monologue seated at his desk. Bandleader Paul Shaffer helped with the banter about how the storm jokes would’ve fared.
Even with no audience reaction – and millions without power – an early joke about the movie Cloud Atlas died (which was pretty funny in and of itself), and Fallon said that if President Obama wanted Americans to take Hurricane Sandy seriously, then it should have been named something other than Sandy.
Funny or not, Fallon provided welcome relief in what was a horrible night.
By Stephen M. Silverman