The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon welcomed a live, albeit reduced, studio audience to its taping Monday night, with the host sharing space with an invited group of first responders and health care workers.
“Please give me a minute to soak up this audience,” Fallon said upon taking the stage at Studio 6B at 30 Rock. “I’ve never been so excited to do a show for 15 people in my entire life. After last year, this is like performing at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.”
The audience, socially distanced and masked, will include first responders and health care workers during the first week back. Fallon welcomed the group along with “the family of raccoons that live in my desk.”
Tonight‘s return to a live audience is the first among network late-night talk shows, though NBC’s Saturday Night Live, also a Lorne Michaels production, has been performing in front of real people since the fall.
Fallon, back to wearing a suit and tie after a year of lockdown-friendly casual, at times seemed to get emotional. “Wow,” he said at the start of his monologue. “Welcome, welcome, welcome, everybody!”
After Monday’s taping but before airtime, the host tweeted: “I can’t describe the feeling of performing in front of a live audience. We work well together. I missed it so much. Thank you.”
Fallon’s first-night guest was Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who said, upon seeing the partial audience, said, “It’s still more than double the size of my normal audience.”
Check out Fallon’s monologue above.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) March 23, 2021