(NEW YORK) — A year after The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon bid farewell to its live studio audience because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the late night program is filling seats once again.
Fallon, who recently returned from filming his show remotely to sitting at his desk in Studio 6B, became the first late night host to resume filming before a live audience.
The Tonight Show‘s decision follows suit with other programs filmed at New York City’s 30 Rockefeller Center, as Hoda & Jenna also welcomed back the live studio audience in July, albeit for Thursdays and Fridays only. Saturday Night Live also returned over the fall before a live audience, which was comprised of masked front line workers.
Fallon welcomed back his audience Monday, telling the socially distancing crowd during his opening monologue, “I’ve never been so excited to do a show for 58 people in my entire life.”
“After last year, this is like performing at a sold-out Madison Square Garden,” the night show host cracked.
Filling the chairs for the first time in a year were fully vaccinated first responders — a trend that will last for the remainder of the week.
In addition, live in-studio guests are also making their return, however, the option to beam in on Zoom is still being offered. Guest Tracee Ellis Ross appeared virtually on Monday while Andy Cohen opted to do it live and in person.
Said Cohen, who hosts Watch What Happens Live on Bravo, told Fallon during their socially distanced interview, “This is certainly the most people I’ve seen in over a year. This is great.”
It is unknown when other late night talk shows will follow suit.
By Megan Stone
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