With pretty much the whole entertainment industry on lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the nation’s late night talk show hosts suddenly find themselves with a lot of free time. Two of them, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, have decided to fight back against the social distancing that has knocked their shows momentarily off the air, and upload home-made monologues to their official YouTube channels. Sure, eight minutes of jokes about Tom Brady leaving Boston and Trump giving himself a 10 out of 10 for his coronavirus response (“which, incidentally, is the same amount of testing kits that are currently available in the United States right now,” as Kimmel says) doesn’t quite capture the full range of mirth and pageantry found in a typical episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, but it might be enough of a hit for anybody going into withdrawal.
Let’s start with Kimmel. He goes for a stripped-down approach, focusing solely on the monologue, and shooting it on what looks like a phone or laptop camera. He leans into the inherent shakiness of the routine, but maintains his dry, understated composure that helps get over even the weaker material. And although he mentions his kids, and one of them (presumably) is the voice that sings his theme song, he doesn’t put them on camera, or spend too much time on them. With a few modest tweaks this easily could’ve been a monologue on his show.
Fallon went for, well, a more Fallon-like approach, earnestly talking about bringing “levity” to America during “these bizarre times,” and immediately introducing his wife (who’s handling the camera), his dog and his daughter. The best thing about Fallon’s video is that he uses it to plug Feeding America, a charity that provides food for those who don’t have any. It takes him three minutes to get to his first joke, which he immediately laughs during, before running through a suite of quarantine-related jokes. He ends with a segment (and song) about St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that was obviously kneecapped by the whole pandemic thing.
Hey, I’m not going to be a jerk about this stuff. It’s cool that both of these millionaires have decided to do some work during what could’ve just been an unscheduled vacation, and are providing new content for all their fans stuck at home for the foreseeable future. Hopefully they keep it up, and other talk show hosts and comedians get in the act.