With all late-night shows (and seemingly everything else) cancelled, postponed, or rendered thoroughly irrelevant by the coronavirus, late-night hosts are doing their part to ensure viewers’ hunger for eerily silent monologue jokes is sated during this time of social distancing. Why, one might ask, did Stephen Colbert do Monday night’s show-opening filmed intro from his suds-brimming bathtub? Well, as we’re all finding out, there’s only so much Scrabble and long-procrastinated home improvements you can do without losing your marbles, just a little bit. And, as Jimmy Fallon picked up the work-from-home torch on Tuesday’s Tonight Show, these people are entertainers, dammit—even if the only people they’re immediately entertaining with their home-taped bits are their immediate families. And pets.
Holding up a handmade sign from his new graphics department (young and gigglingly uninterested in daddy’s shenanigans daughter Frannie) reading The Tonight Show Staring Jimmy Fallon, the host indeed hosted a new opening for Tuesday’s pandemic-mandated rerun. Coming to us live from his objectively awesome basement rec room (complete with antique popcorn machine, copyright-dodging, half-seen seven dwarves cutouts, and is that a freaking escape slide?), Fallon spoke directly to the camera (worked by unseen wife Nancy), telling his presumably safe-at-home audience that his mission is to bring “some levity in these bizarre times.”
With dog Gary for a sounding board, Fallon’s list of monologue jokes (sent in by his similarly sequestered writers) were the usual Fallon stew of “eh,” and “sort of okay,” although, without an appreciative audience to cackle at his funny faces, Fallon looked endearingly uncomfortable. (Frannie was totally not into it, escaping immediately via that in-house playground tube slide, which, again—awesome.) As was his wont, Fallon didn’t ruffle Trump’s hair over the ongoing administration duplicitous drain-clog of a coronavirus response, instead lobbing a joke about Boston icon Tom Brady’s decision to bail on the New England Patriots on St. Patricks’ Day, no less, an act Fallon compared to “getting dumped on your birthday” for the Pats faithful. Capping things off with some Guinness, soda bread, good Irish butter, and his new topical anthem “St. Patrick’s Day Quarantine,” Fallon strummed along to a mix of Irish stereotypes and genuinely useful COVID-19 advice. Seriously, six feet of distance, wash your hands, and stay the hell home, even if you don’t have an expensively rustic basement playroom to screw around in.