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Late Night Entertainment: At Home Edition

Does anyone else feel completely drained from the depressing news we get every waking hour?

Now before you cancel me, this claim does not need to be confused with me underplaying the severity of this pandemic, because that could not be farther from true. But I think it is safe to say we all need a good laugh during these trying times – am I right? With millions of people working from home, whether it be online school to reporters broadcasting straight from their living rooms – it is a well-established fact that we are all learning to live in a work-from-home era. That being said, late-night entertainment hopped on the work-from-home bandwagon to ensure we all remember to laugh and go to bed with smiles on our faces, even during the coronavirus outbreak. Late-night television is a crucial part of American culture, and COVID-19 has reinvented the way we view it. Shows like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon & Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC), Conan (TBS), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC), The Daily Show with Trevor Noah & Lights Out with David Spade (Comedy Central), and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) have admirably continued to distribute their content through this pandemic. As expected, the shows are not as perfect as usual – the “TV magic” is absent. They aren’t filmed in their state-of-the-art studios or operated by the staff that produces the show from the ground up. There is the obvious absence of the live-studio audience that provides that unmatched late-night energy. Rather, the show is filmed on an iPhone by the host or a family member. The conversation between the host and guest are through either a FaceTime or Zoom conference call. The visually appealing graphic aspects of the show are either from an image in the background on a television or a drawing created by their children. These aspects of television production that were once overlooked, are now understood as what makes these shows exceptional and what we look forward to at the end of each day. But these shows have seamlessly transitioned by making viewers feel that they get a glimpse inside of their lives. Seeing celebrity figures expressing their anxiety with the virus/quarantine makes us feel more connected as humans. Viewers are getting to really see the personalities of the hosts and celebrities all across the world. It truly makes us realize that we are all not that different from one another. The entire process is humanizing. Furthermore, I could not help but wish that my favorite late-night entertainment show, Saturday Night Live (NBC), could somehow do a show. But with quarantine and social-distancing I thought that it would be merely impossible for them to pull off a sketch comedy show… except it wasn’t. On April 11, 2020, Saturday Night Live aired a historical episode titled, “Saturday Night Live at Home,” where the episode was not actually live, but prerecorded from home. Tom Hanks hosted the first SNL At Home episode. He was the first celebrity reported to have contracted the coronavirus, so I believe SNL and Hanks thought it only made sense that he hosts the first quarantine episode. SNL had various sketches that involved one cast member recording themselves performing at home; along with make-shift sets, costumes, and graphics. Then they’d have some sketches where they would do Zoom calls where cast members could do a sketch collaboratively. At the end of the show, they beautifully paid homage to one of their crew members, music producer Hal Willner, who passed away from the coronavirus. This episode was exactly what we needed during this time. A mix of humor and humility. All things considered; the coronavirus is no joke. But in order to get through rough times like these, we all need laughter to push through. Stay safe everyone.


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