Late Night Tackles coronavirus
5:52 a.m.

"For a lot of people, like myself, today began our third week of quarantine," Jimmy Kimmel said Monday night. "And this is where your survival skill start to kick in." President Trump, for example, "took time during this deadly national emergency to brag about the ratings for his press conferences," Kimmel said. "Just because people are watching you doesn't mean it's good. Have you heard of The Masked Singer? Right now half of this country is watching a show about a bunch of toothless meth-heads abusing tigers." Kimmel suggested Netflix and Disney+ team up to create a version of Tiger King the whole family can watch, and he showed how it might be done.

Yes, "Tiger King, this new Netflix series that is somehow even more viral than COVID-19," is "the only story that everybody's talking about right now," Trevor Noah said, after a global coronavirus update. Tiger King protagonist "Joe Exotic is not only one of the weirdest people you will ever meet in your life, he could also be president of the United States," Noah said. "He's self-absorbed, he's disorganized, he's obsessed with conspiracies," and "he loves portraying himself as an expert in his field, when the truth is he has no idea what he's talking about." Noah walked through a point-by-point comparison of Joe Exotic and Trump, concluding that Exotic "might be just as crazy as Trump, but at least if he's in the White House, we're gonna see tigers."

Late Night's Seth Meyers checked in on how Fox News is handling Trump's handling of the outbreak, and he found possible alcohol abuse and stony faces. Trump himself is "laser-focused on the crisis," he deadpanned, reading a tweet about Harry and Meghan. "Where are you getting your celebrity news during the pandemic? I know it's not People magazine, because even People magazine is covering the coronavirus." Meyers also rolled his eyes at Trump's ratings brags: "People are not tuning in because they all love you, they're tuning in because they're trapped inside," and "we're only trapped inside watching you because you kept ignoring the crisis and pretending it would go away, until it was too late."

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert asked guest John Oliver his opinion on Trump's handling of the crisis. "I really hope he turns it around," Oliver said. "I genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, hope that he can pull a rabbit out of a hat, and that rabbit being competence. But I don't think it's safe for any of us to bank on that." Peter Weber

March 27, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases and the lead expert on President Trump's coronavirus task force, has advised six presidents on a series of terrible infectious diseases. He told The Daily Show's Trevor Noah on Thursday that his "worst nightmare" has long been "a respiratory-borne illness that easily spreads from person to person but that has a high degree of morbidity and mortality," and with COVID-19, "it spreads very easily — you can even spread it when you're not symptomatic" — and its mortality rate is 10 times higher than the seasonal flu.

Fauci said people have to weigh the risks of various activities Noah asked about — for example, he doesn't think we "need to get completely obsessed about packages that come in" — but coughing and sneezing are dangerous. The virus spreads mainly through droplets of saliva, including hand contact after a person coughs, but it can also be aerosolized and hang out in the air for a bit.

"You don't want to be obsessive-compulsive about wiping everything down that you go near," Fauci said, but contaminated doorknobs are "one of the real bad actors." He suggested and end to handshakes "for a while" and frequent hand washing, plus keeping six feet of social distancing. "The overwhelming proportion" of COVID-19 patients "are the elderly with underlying disease," like heart or respiratory issues, he added, but young people are far from "invulnerable."

But even if you never get sick, "you have an almost societal, moral responsibility to protect other people" by not spreading the virus, Fauci said, and in terms of how long people will need to shelter in place, "the virus is the clock, Trevor."

"We may be running low on masks, but there are plenty of tinfoil hats to go around right now," Jimmy Kimmel said. "There's a far-right conspiracy circulating that claims Dr. Anthony Fauci has been secretly plotting with Hillary Clinton to destroy the economy and undermine the Trump presidency. That's right — maybe the virus came from Hillary's computer!" He dialed in the likely Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Biden said he's baffled by Trump's slow, piecemeal response to the outbreak — "honest to God, Jimmy, I don't know" — asked Trump to steal his coronavirus plan, explained how he's spending his days, and reassured Kimmel that Trump "doesn't have the authority" to postpone the election. Peter Weber

March 26, 2020

The Senate passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill with $1,200 checks for Americans and a ban on bailouts for President Trump's businesses, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Social Distancing Show. "Just take a second to appreciate how strange it is that lawmakers felt that they needed to write in that the president cannot use this money for himself and his family."

Meanwhile, coronavirus is spreading exponentially in the U.S., especially New York, and "while more and more countries around the world are shutting down to stop coronavirus from spreading ... Trump is preparing for a grand opening" by Easter, Noah said. It's a terrible idea to lift restrictions so soon, but urging people to cram into churches during a pandemic "is basically every supervillain's wet dream," he added. "Trump is like the Joker, just with more makeup."

Trump was already "terrible at Easter," Late Night's Seth Meyers said from his living room, but if his "plan to deal with a very contagious disease is to pack as many people as possible into enclosed spaces, have them touch their faces, and drink out of the same cup," that's straight-up "sociopathic governance."

Trump clearly "cares more about the Dow than saving lives," and now he's "being goaded on in this sadistic plan to put profits over lives by CEOs, economic advisers, and fringe characters on the right who are actually suggesting that it might be worth letting some people die in order to save the economy," he said. "Glenn Beck accused Democrats of wanting to pull the plug on Grammy, and now 10 years later he's saying the stock market's down, Grammy's gotta go."

"Trump desperately wants to protect his beautiful stock market, and he keeps calling himself a 'wartime president,'" Jimmy Kimmel agreed. "Maybe if we call the coronavirus Vietnam, Trump would be okay with people staying home for it." Many of the Americans quarantined at home are "watching Friends, because you can't see your real ones," Kimmel said, and so he checked in with Courteney Cox and had her play Monica-based trivia with Kimmel's Friends-obsessed cousin Anthony.

"Earlier this month, before everyone was wearing masks and gloves, I met a people wearing, well, masks and gloves — furries," Amy Hoggart reported on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "We can learn a lot from people who were forced to social-distance before it was cool." Watch her surprisingly topical dispatch below. Peter Weber

March 24, 2020

Like about a third of America, the hosts of late-night comedy shows are locked in their homes to help flatten the coronavirus curve. On Monday night, they started their second week of experimental television from their living rooms.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah started with a look at "the coronavirus world tour," including Italian mayors berating shelter-in-place scofflaws, Spanish police serenading compliant citizens, and Japan postponing the 2020 Olympics. He also recapped President Trump's hands-off approach to the outbreak and criticized a proposed $500 billion slush fund giving Trump the power to "choose which businesses he wants to survive and which businesses he wants to end up like his businesses." Meanwhile, he said, "many parents across the nation are facing a struggle right now, and that struggle is being stuck at home with their kids." To illustrate, he spoke with correspondent Desi Lydic.

"It's Week 2 of self-quarantine, and we're all feeling cooped up," The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon said from his house in the Hamptons, his wife and kids pitching in. "Today, my Amazon Alexa asked me to give it some space." He also video-chatted with Noah about life under quarantine.

"Why is it that when there's no quarantine, we all stay at home starting at our screens but now that we're on lockdown, people are like, 'Let's get out and have a picnic'?" Jimmy Kimmel asked. "Donald Trump spent his weekend bragging about the imagined success he's had fighting what he still insists on calling the 'Chinese virus,' even though the result of that is an army of imbeciles blaming people of Chinese descent for the virus," he said. And even when he tried to clean that up, "he somehow manages to be racist while telling other people not to be racist."

Late Night's Seth Meyers, taping in his hallway, ran through how Trump's "negligence" helped lead to 100 million Americans being under stay-home orders, suggested Trump mocked Sen. Mitt Romney's (R-Utah) self-quarantine "to remind us that he is an awful person," and marveled at Trump's revealing complaint about media coverage: "How do you have time to watch six networks and read two newspapers? I've been home with two kids for a week, and the only thing I've read is the back of a box of Clorox wipes and the only thing I've watched is my wife roll her eyes at me for not knowing how to make oatmeal."

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert tried to remember how to change a bike tire. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 20, 2020

"So what's the latest on coronavirus?" Trevor Noah asked on Thursday's from-home Daily Show. "Well, President Trump says they found a treatment, governors are taking action, and spring break is getting canceled." He started with Trump, "the one man we're all forced to listen to during this crisis, and every day he reminds us why hiring him was America's biggest mistake." Noah showed some of Trump's press conference and urged Trump to "just let the scientists and the doctors talk. Trump should just stand in the back like a hype man." He demonstrated.

Noah found it especially "embarrassing" that the FDA commissioner had to correct Trump, to his face, after Trump incorrectly claimed the FDA had approved a coronavirus treatment. "If I could cover my face with my hands, I would," he joked. But luckily "while America's dealing with its incompetent-in-chief, many of America's governors have started to take matters into their own hands."

While Noah looked at things New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) actually did, Full Frontal's Samantha Bee crowned him "America's Dad."

Bee also had some advice for surviving the pandemic with your marriage intact, from her woodshed.

"I just want to be out of this house before Blue Ivy graduates medical school, but the good news is our president has it all under control," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned from his house. "Our fearless misleader" is "really going all-in with this 'Chinese virus' nonsense," he said. "Even his speechwriter was like, 'I'm not writing that. You want it? You change it yourself.' Somebody needs to take his Sharpie away." Kimmel agreed with Noah that Trump should "just shut up already and let the doctors take over," but he also mocked the college kids spring-breaking in Florida.

"Just because we're stuck at home doesn't mean we can't visit with friends — virtually," Kimmel said. He dialed up Julia Louis-Dreyfus to see how she's dealing with social distancing.

The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon video-chatted with Jennifer Garner — her parents still want to go to Sam's Club, too. Fallon did his monologue from his front porch, with a laugh machine. "Today was the first day of spring — now Americans get to play a fun game: allergies or coronavirus?" he joked. He read some #MyQuarantineInSixWords tweets, set up his first tent in his backyard, and got Garner to play the sax. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 19, 2020

Like everyone else affected by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, late-nights hosts are improvising their furloughed shows and trying to do their part to keep up morale. Coronavirus "is a crisis that we have to face together — by staying as far apart as possible," The Late Show's Stephen Colbert said from his porch in South Carolina, delivering his "low-res" monologue via an "iPad on top of a plant stand." With coronavirus dominating the news, he said, Joe Biden's big, likely fatal victories over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primaries are like "two old men playing Monopoly while their house burns down."

"Remember when we used to think we'd never get to all the shows on Netflix?" Jimmy Kimmel asked in his from-home "minilogue." President Trump "has a catchy little nickname for the coronavirus — he now calls it the 'Chinese Virus' every chance he gets," mostly "to deflect blame away from him. It's like when he started calling Eric and Don Jr. the 'Ivana kids.'"

"Trump is the only person who could hold a press conference about a pandemic and then turn it into a fight about racism," Trevor Noah said on his Daily Social Distancing Show. He said he kind of feels "bad for Trump" over the U.S.-Canada border being closed, "because he's finally getting the border shutdown he always wanted, it's just happening with the wrong country." Noah also called Roy Wood Jr., who said he planned to join the NBA to get a coronavirus test, then ran off to stop his 3-year-old son from eating the toilet paper.

Conan O'Brien offered a helpful "life hack" about the "many things around the house you can use instead of toilet paper."

CVS has "what you need, and every receipt a week's worth of toilet paper," The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon agreed, his wife operating the camera at their cabin and his daughters showcasing the trials facing a lot of Americans now working from home. Additionally, he said, "we've all gotten to be like, 'Wow, Dave from HR has a pretty ugly house.'"

"If there's one takeaway from the videos the other late-night hosts put out, it's that they have incredible homes," said Full Frontal's Samantha Bee. The first of her "daily tips for how to survive and thrive while also social distancing" involved chopping wood while using NSFW expletives. Peter Weber

March 13, 2020

The Tonight Show, The Late Show, and Late Night will suspend production for two weeks due to the spreading coronavirus pandemic, NBC and CBS announced Thursday evening. All the national late-night shows were planning to start taping without a studio audience on Monday, but Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers learned Thursday that their Thursday shows were going to be audience-less, too. Their shows went on, loosely.

"We're just kind of winging it — this is rehearsal right now," Colbert said to his mostly empty theater. He noted that "because of the coronavirus, all of Broadway was shutting down tonight," too, and yelled at the coronavirus for infecting Tom Hanks, in "a bummer of a sequel to Catch Me if You Can."

"Last night, Donald Trump pre-empted all programming to address a worried nation — and remind them, he's the thing they should really worry about," Colbert said. Wall Street immediately "freaked out" about Trump's phantom trade ban, but "Trump's body language" must've added to the panic. "He had a rakish flair that could only be described as stark terror," he pantomimed, and "it's not very reassuring when the guy telling us to stay calm about a respiratory virus loses his breath in the middle of a two-syllable word."

"Like you, I'm watching the news and I'm just as confused and freaked out as you are — I know that speech last night didn't help," Fallon told the empty theater, reading his monologue from index cards as The Roots kept things pleasantly madcap. Trump's Oval Office address "was a nice change from his usual speeches, right next to a helicopter," Fallon joked. But "the last time Trump spoke from the Oval Office it was about his plans to build his border wall — which means in two years, the coronavirus should be about 10 percent taken care of."

"We had written a Closer Look last night" and it's still relevant, explained Seth Meyers, dressed in shirtsleeves, so they added it to Thursday's last-minute rerun. He called America's current mood "very surreal and weird," with the media and public health experts struggling "to convey the severity of what's happening without sounding hysterical" and Trump addressing the nation minutes after Sarah Palin rapped to Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" dressed in a bear costume. Trump's speech should have focused on "massively ramping up testing, surging the capacity of our health care system, and taking care of the millions of vulnerable Americans who are about to face personal and economic hardships because of this pandemic," Meyers said. Instead, he's moving ahead with his "truly sadistic plan" to kick 700,000 Americans off food stamps.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, going audience-less Monday, sang a wistful farewell song for Thursday's crowd. Peter Weber

March 12, 2020

Stephen Colbert announced on Wednesday that due to the new coronavirus, The Late Show and all other late-night comedy shows will tape without a studio audience from Monday to the foreseeable future. "There are now over 1,000 cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and this afternoon the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic," he said. Federal infectious disease experts are warning Americans to prepare for some serious lifestyle disruptions, he added, unhappily. "It's only March, and 2020 has done the impossible: Made me nostalgic for 2019."

Still, "daily life is changing," Colbert said, citing colleges kicking students out of the dorm and scrapped festivals. "The Council on Foreign Relations has canceled a coronavirus conference because of the coronavirus," he added. "In related news, the International Irony Festival is going ahead as planned."

"No Coachella, no South by Southwest, no spring break trips — pretty soon Instagram's just going to be homemade omelettes and the shrugs emoji," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Meanwhile, in the U.K., an amusement park owner filled a claw machine with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Unfortunately, everyone who touched the same joystick is now been quarantined to inside the claw machine."

"You can survive without toilet paper!" Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Don't forget — you're in a bathroom. 'Oh, how will I clean my butt in this room with a shower?' I feel like people in first world countries don't know what to panic about." Seriously, he said, half of America could get infected, in part because "we're learning that this coronavirus can stay on some surfaces for up to three days — although in New York, it doesn't stay as long because it can't afford the rent."

Partly because of all the disruptions, people have complicated feelings about the coronavirus, Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. So he went through "the five stages of coronavirus," from denial to acceptance: "Hey, you know what? If I die, maybe I'll get to meet Prince."

"Public health officials, and even former Trump administration officials, are warning that our health care system is just days or weeks away from being completely overwhelmed," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. Without drastic measures, the U.S. is about 10 days behind Italy's explosion of cases, he said, critiquing President Trump's "negligent" handling of the outbreak and moves "to dole out bailout money to friendly industries." Watch below. Peter Weber

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