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Late-Night Continues to Deliver Best Medicine
April 5, 2020  | By Eric Gould  | 1 comment

When faced with the unknown, you might as well laugh.

What else can you do?

It might be just the one thing that gives you a slight sense of empowerment over it all.

Late-night shows are the soldiers on that front line given this psychological battle against an invisible virus and the absurdities out of certain politician’s mouths.

“It’s more than just medicine, it’s survival,” said Erica Rhodes, a Los Angeles comedian in a telephone interview with AP. “Even during the Holocaust, people told jokes. Laughter is a symbol of hope, and it becomes one of our greatest needs of life, right up there with toilet paper. It’s a physical need people have. You can’t underestimate how it heals people and gives them hope.” 

So, while there is a lot of anxiety and fear out there, there is an ample number of homemade housebound videos and memes on social media to distract us and make us smile throughout the day while we are stuck at the dining room table with our laptops.

Or, we can leave it to the professionals since we’re not wired to be on guard all the time.

Bill Maher returned last Friday (April 3) with his HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher show shot on a tripod-mounted iPhone from his back yard. Maher brought a new, hilarious spin on comedians delivering monologues without an audience by interspersing clips of an old-time black and white audience cracking up to his jokes:

Steven Colbert continued with his retitled A Late Show with Stephen at Home with an extended interview (and extended riffing with Ryan Reynolds) last Wednesday, April 1, but even better was his capitalizing on the current binge-trend of Netflix’s Tiger King reality series with a faux interview with Joe Exotic imposter Thomas Lennon (Thursday, April 2). Lennon (The State, Reno 911) channels the preposterousness of the dumb*ss reality star perhaps better than the original himself:

Seth Meyers continued on with his sharply polished monologues, and also posted this clip (Friday, April 3) of his favorite jokes of the week:


And finally, Jimmy Kimmel opened his monologue for his retitled Jimmy Kimmel Live From His House show (Friday, April 3) noting that “I never knew what loneliness was until I started telling jokes to an empty room,” and then observing how alcohol sales have spiked during the health crisis:

So, the upside of times like these is that there is an ample supply of laughs… even with the scarcity of eggs and Purell.

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These Covid 19(aka Cofefe19) shows may be forgotten after this ends(how many network brass will want to revisit these times),but this invention of flipping the current talk show format has led to some excellent TV. The kids,even Colbert's grown ones and loved ones had to the enjoyment(imagine Carson's dysfunctional family and multiple wives or Letterman's past roommates). Fallon,a guy who I usually pass up,gave a heartfelt tribute to behind-the -scenes music guru,Hal Willner,who died of Covid-19. Willner was unique individual,involved in many "tribute" albums-catch his name on one and listen for surprises. Fallon knows more than as any SNL alumni how important music is to talk shows. With Colbert & Meyers-know that the books in the background are not for show. Folks who berate the current state of late-night fare are not paying attention. When the virus passes,maybe a revisit to the current format(during vacation breaks?) could be in order.
Apr 9, 2020   |  Reply
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