October 30th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

The show must go on: Letterman, Fallon tape without audiences

“Thank you very much for joining us here in the Ed Sullivan Shelter,” David Letterman said to no one in particular as he opened Monday’s “Late Show.”

With New Yorkers preparing for Superstorm Sandy, which meant either evacuating or staying put inside, late night hosts Letterman and Jimmy Fallon taped the “Late Show” and “Late Night,” respectively, without studio audiences.

“We sent our audience home so that they can be safe and warm,” Fallon said during a bit he filmed outside 30 Rockefeller Center, where the shows tapes. He added, “all of our guests came, which was big for us. We were worried that we weren’t going to get guests.”

Back inside, Fallon delivered his monologue like he would on any other show, including an impressive impersonation of “Grease’s” Danny: “Sandy! Stranded at the drive-in.”

“You’re performing as if there was an audience,” announcer Steve Higgins said, making light of the pauses Fallon was observing between jokes.

“I’m just assuming that people at home will be watching either on their laptops or get their generators out … and they’re going to want to leave room to laugh,” Fallon said.

As it turned out, millions of people were without power on Monday night.

Over on CBS, Letterman welcomed Denzel Washington, who took the stage wearing a yellow raincoat. “I swam,” he joked. “Only for you, Dave.”

Filed under: television

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soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Jewdome

    I've seen the show live. The audience doesn't laugh anyway. They "produce" the show and insert sound tracks of laughter later before air-time... and use a few shots of people laughing at the day-laborer comic. Neither one of these "comedians" is funny. They're just Jews... given opportunity to play in the Jew Dome of entertainment. They're boring. It's a shame gentiles can't get work. I know a bunch of funny gentiles. They work in blue collar jobs since they are not invited to play in the Jew Dome.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti Jewdome

      Hate to break it to you, but neither Letterman or Fallon are Jewish. So aren't you glad these Gentiles have jobs that weren't stolen by funnier people? Please crawl right back under your racist rock, and this time stay there.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
    • A little annoyed at your comment

      First of all, David Letterman is not Jewish. His mother, Dorothy Letterman, is a Presbyterian church secretary of German descent. Johnny Carson was not Jewish. Jay Leno and Conan O Brien are not Jewish. Jimmy Fallon attended St. Mary of the Snow, a Roman Catholic parochial school. He is probably not Jewish either.

      These conspiracies theories about the Jews running Hollywood go a little too far sometimes. I understand that Jews do have a history of being influential in the entertainment industry (partly because they were historically shut out of other industries, partly because of the tradition of Jewish humor, partly because of the historic Jewish emphasis on education).

      But your comment definitely has tinges of paranoia. But you have confirmed something that I have suspected for a long time--namely, that a lot of this anti-Hollywood populist sentiment that the religious Right expresses is actually subtly anti-semetic under the surface.

      There may very well be a disproportionate number of Jews who are members of the Creative class and are therefore liberal, but I really think it is both inaccurate and mean-spirited to blame the faults you see in Hollywood on Jews.

      The enemy that you're looking for is not Jews, but it is post-modernism itself and all of the cultural consequences of post-modernism.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Monty

    Shouldn't be too different without an audience. They'll get the same amount of laughs.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barb

    I cannot stand David Letterman.......and especially his politics.....too liberal and so biased.
    It will be a cold day in hell before I would see his show!

    October 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • gw1960

      So then why would you even click on this story and then comment?

      October 31, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Polopoint

      Really 'Barb'. why'd you even bother?
      anyway, you sound too bitter to enjoy a laugh. stay away.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • bgg1175

      Maybe he doesnt want you watching. Youre just too conservative-on the wrong side of history.
      Hes been beggin you boy "Ol Lyin Mitt" to be a guest but your boy is frightened he may get questions he cant answer well so he hides under his bed and sends his wifey!
      Hate to spoil the election outcome for you but Mr. Mitt will find out that his lies didnt help him win the White House!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • asdg

      I'm with you but replace Fallon instead of Letterman in what you said. I can't even make myself click on that YT clip.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. AJ

    Wow, it's as though Clint Eastwood had a late night show. Talking to a whole room full of empty chairs...

    October 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hoku

    Letterman & Fallon truly knows what it means "the show must go on".

    October 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Covered With Dander

    I think Letterman should have his own daily show, and then do his night show as well. He is the funniest man on TV since the great Christopher Farley passed. I watched last night while looking through my back window so that I could be cold and wet during the duration of the program. I laughed so vigorously during one segment that I could almost hear myself over the storm. When the band played, I tired to go "Gangnam style" despite being soaked through, cold and nearly 80 year ole. Letterman is the best thing on tv since Gunsmoke," or "Cannon."

    October 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • steveR

      Letterman did daytime TV in the 80's before the NBC show.
      Some are available on U tube
      He is not going back to daytime TV.
      He will not do primetime
      He is just about DONE.
      He carried Carsons legacy of creativity

      Leno Jobbed it and ruined it

      Which is why there are 4 good late night shows instead of the Carson Killer

      Leno DESTROYED and minimized THE TONIGHT SHOW

      Now there are 4 to WATCH



      October 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ed

    Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!

    October 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. you won't believe it

    Good on them, performing to an empty house for the show must go on for millions at home. I saw both and they were hilarious, which is really hard for Letterman lately (sour pus). But they were entertaining and IMO proves that Fallon will soon rule the evening airwaves. Most talented of the bunch with age on his side.

    October 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lew

    Letterman and Fallon are my favs. Funny, funny men. Leno can *$@($ my @()$#@

    October 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Cleary

      I'm with you

      October 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennyfur

      Letteman should be off the air......nobody wants to watch his biased lib views and he sure the heck ain't funny. Craig Ferguson is the only one worth watching.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. j

    Facebook Censors Navy SEALS to Protect Obama on Benghazi-Gate

    Over the weekend, Facebook took down a message by the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS) which highlighted the fact that Obama denied backup to the forces being overrun in Benghazi.

    The message was contained in a meme which demonstrated how Obama had relied on the SEALS when he was ready to let them get Osama bin Laden, and how he had turned around and denied them when they called for backup on Sept 11.

    I spoke with Larry Ward, president of Political Media, Inc - the media company that handles SOS postings and media production. Ward was the one who personally put the Navy SEAL meme up, and the one who received the warning from Facebook and an eventual 24 hour suspension from Facebook because Ward put the meme back up after Facebook told him to take it down.

    Here's what Ward told me:

    We created and posted this meme on Saturday after news broke that Obama had known and denied SEALS the backup they requested.

    Once the meme was up it garnered 30,000 shares, approx. 24,000 likes, and was read by hundreds of thousands of people - all within 24 hrs. On Sunday, I went into the SOS Facebook page to post something else and found a warning from Facebook that we had violated Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities with our meme. So I copied the warning, put it on the meme as as caption, and re-posted the meme to the Facebook page.

    October 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis C.

      I have to honestly ask you, what the f*!@ is wrong with you? First off, we are dealing with problems here at home with the storm, and you have the balls to post that here? Second, if you knew anything about war, there was a reason they did not send people. Third, information related to this attack is probably under investigation, which would be why they had to take it down. I don't care about how this panned out. The fact is, good people got killed and you want to trash Obama with the means of getting Romney elected. Can you wait until after the whole ordeal is better in the North East? Thanks!
      – Veteran Sailor

      October 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Get psychiatric help, you sad little half-wit.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Archie Bunker

    I remember when Letterman used to be funny.

    October 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tailgator

    Letterman disrespects anyone who isn't an extreme left winger. The guy has been mailing it in for years. That's why more people live in my neighborhood than watch this bumbling idiot.

    October 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dam in Tampa

    Letterman has been playing to no audience in my house for years.

    October 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Unbelievable

    Isn't this a time where the crews should be home with their family ensuring everyone is safe and out of the way of the emergency crews? Totally irresponsible and egomanical!

    October 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • NanookoftheNorth

      Both shows had a skeleton crew, band members. Probably those who already lived nearby the shows studios or were within walking distance. I appreciated the trouble they went to..."the show must go on !"

      October 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Drama queen.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Just like interviewing obama the empty chair!

    October 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob

      That goes to show, at 82 years old, even Clint can be let out of the Cuckoos Nest in time to promote his next bomb.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joepub

      Bomb? Not really. his movies seem to do well financially. Jealous much?

      October 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Jacob

    I watched Dave Letterman last night. I was amused, confused, and entertained by the segment of displaying cards necessary for the "Top Ten List".

    Dave and Denzel Washington were great sports. I wish I had a cool million in my pocket like them.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  17. robertholt

    Perhaps now would be a good time for reruns.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  18. there it is again

    "snafu" baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    October 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  19. SnafuBob


    October 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. enjoy

    the one woman show


    October 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Tom

    If you are one of the cretins criticizing Letterman, Fallon or any late night TV host, you should go suck a mop.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  22. macthek9

    I wish CNN would kill the comment forum. It's riddled with negativity. Gripe, gripe grip!... This is what I see, (and think of an old jewish lady saying this) I hate him, he's so boring.... Whine whine whine.... WA WA WA!! Jimmy Fallon so lame... He's not funny.... WA WA WA!!! My opinion is a fact... Jimmy sucks... I like someone else more!!! David Letterman isn't funny... WA WA WA!!!!

    People, please!

    October 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  23. bye

    enjoy the evening folks


    October 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  24. D. Evil

    The Show Must Go On...

    October 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  25. C

    I don't understand why so many people are trashing Fallon. I think he's cute, sweet, and talented.

    October 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  26. t0mm50

    Jimmy Fallon makes my skin crawl. I rather stare at a broke down iron lung for a hour than watch that clown

    October 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheBob

      Your problem lies within. Seek professional help.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toni Check

      Iron lung!I googled that,how old are you?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • steveR

      It's comedy, on TV at night?
      Do you have a remote, perhaps other channels to watch.
      Fallon is a unique talent and mimic, and many expect a real breakout soon and he may be America's best prime time funny man

      Perhaps it is time to return to your spot under the bridge and come out and scare a loser entertainer, like Jay Leno or Ellen Degeneres, someone created by networks to soothe your inability to find fun in many things.


      October 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dan

    That's about the same number of people they usually perform to. Fallon is awful.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Dan

    I just have never found Letterman funny ever. He has horrible delivery, isn't likable, and the other guy (Paul) is just always so dang awkward. But I guess enough people do. At least Fallon has fun with it. Craig Ferguson will always be my favorite

    October 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Do you really think people care what you think of David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon or any topic?
      Thanks for sharing.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Major Tom

      Ferguson is a total d0uche and most unfunny pr!ck on tv.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      Letterman is nothing but a hypocrite who takes advantage of young girls, but makes fun of others when they do.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  29. ArchieDeBunker

    Letterman and Falon don't realize it but they are performing to zero audiences every time they go on. The people who watch these guys are empty-headed, so it's the same as performing before an audience of 0.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • XardozOmega

      [ArchieDeBunker said: Letterman and Falon don't realize it but they are performing to zero audiences every time they go on. The people who watch these guys are empty-headed, so it's the same as performing before an audience of 0.]

      – Reply: Golly, Mr. Brainiac, you are are automatically nominated to be our all time empty-headed leader with a statement like that. Do you accept the nomination? Stomp once for yes and twice for no. Duhhhhhhhhh~

      October 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • y2daddy

      f uck you

      October 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Yet another useless imbecile heard from.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Fred

    LOVED Dave's show last night. I don't watch those shows but I noticed that Denzel would be on and clicked into the most bizarre show! They should do it more often. Paul helped out during the monologue more than usual and it was brilliant. Biff "came alive" as well and I couldn't stop laughing. The chemistry between Dave and Denzel is magical and I really felt like I was watching two show business professionals sitting down for a lunch or something. Denzel is pure class! Dave is getting smarter and smarter with age! There was a little clip of Dave, Paul, and Denzel sitting quiet and motionless in the audience during a commercial break that was priceless. There has to be an Emmy for Denzel in that lingering moment of deep introspection. I feel lucky to have seen that show.

    October 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I agree. That was a class act by both and I very much enjoyed the show. I can't wait to see the movie too. I give Denzel a lot of credit for coming in. They were performing for the rest of the country and were sensitive enough to know that it would be dangerous to have a studio audience there. I remeber Dave was the first to get back on the air after 911. I really admire the guy.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC1973

      Did he really call Pauley Perrette a loser because her flight was canceled, though?

      October 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Coyoles

    jimmy kimmel is the funniest dude at night period.

    October 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  32. jj

    Good for them, the show must go on

    October 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  33. sir

    fallon is about as funny as a pile of shiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • MstrDsstr

      So when are you taking over his show?

      October 30, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • JayVMN

      I find him quite talented. He can sing, dance, play instruments, act.
      The only thing I don't like about him is when he get's political (left). That alienates half the prospective audience...

      October 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I disagree. He is very talented and attracts a wide audience. He is constantly looking for new ways to engage his audience and guests. He has misfires, yes, so did Carson. Get over it. I think he is spot on with current events and is not afraid to poke fun at thise who are crying out to be picked on.
      I wish him well.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Anderson

      Last I checked, such piles were hilarious. See your local Spen.cer. Gif.ts for details.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimdevo

      perhaps he will write you a thankyou card.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  34. dletterman

    Fallon is so lousy he will out soon!

    October 30, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      what does "he will be out soon" mean?? Out of what? a job – the closet... etc? what the hell are you talking about?

      October 30, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • You No Grammar Good

      He not will out soon! Some of his skits with stars are alright, but Letterman isn't really funny either. I'm young and I still know Carson was by far the best late night host ever. The networks missed out by sending Conan away to TBS. Much better than anyone on late night right now on the networks.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  35. RufusVonDufus

    Lettermean should be used to it as very few people tune him in at that late time. He is not funny and can always count on at least one person laughing at his humor–himself!

    October 30, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • si

      he ain't no johnny carson.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      I have news for you, Letterman's ratings are the same as Leno's. Maybe you should take fifteen seconds to do a little research next time.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |

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