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Fallon, Colbert, Kimmel work from home with DIY comedy

Who says late-night hosts can’t work from home?

Studios are deserted and audiences hunkered down at home to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah are trying to bring a little laughter into the world.

Although most television and movie production is suspended, these late-night hosts are bringing short-form DIY versions of their comedy to audiences via YouTube (or in Colbert’s case, an abbreviated airing on CBS before a rerun). And like the rest of us working from home and video chatting into meetings, their kids, pets and spouses are part of the fun. 

Jimmy Fallon during

Fallon’s 6-year-old daughter drew a new version of his tonight show graphic but was unwilling to participate as his band leader. His wife happily filmed him as he read jokes his writers sent in from home, ate Irish Soda Bread to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and sang a quarantine ditty. From the guy who brought you songs played with classroom instruments, the playroom vibe really worked for Fallon. Also, is anyone surprised he has a slide in his house? 

Colbert was way ahead of the curve, delivering a monologue from his bathtub Monday night. On Tuesday, the comedian “discovered fire” in his backyard (while wearing AirPods, natch) and still found a way to break out his Trump impression. His video had more of the trappings of this usual show, including opening credits, graphics, cuts to news clips and a video of his band leader John Batiste playing the piano from his own house.  (Batiste has a substitute for his usual backing band, Stay Human, “Stay Home-in.”) He and Colbert still managed to do a socially distanced and coronavirus-specific version of “Oh, Danny Boy” to celebrate St. Patty’s. 

Kimmel was all-in on St. Patrick’s Day, wearing a green Guinness shirt from his own office (he’s hiding from the kids that he just “discovered” he had) and suggested ways to celebrate from home: Dyeing hand sanitizer green and drinking. You’ll never get the green off your hands, but hey, it’s festive! Kimmel, among the other comics, got a lot of mileage out of Tom Brady announcing he is leaving the New England Patriots on St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of a global crisis. Tough day for Bostonians. 

Noah went with shorter sketches and clips on his YouTube page, including one with “cleaning tips” for coronavirus, in which he “cleaned” everything in his house, from the water coming out of his tap to a piece of a clementine. 

In the absence of their regularly scheduled episodes, it appears the comics are working from home for the long run, trying to bring a sense of levity and maybe even a bit of normalcy to the world, however they can. So far, it’s incredibly welcome, even if all the jokes don’t land. 

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff

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