Odds are, most of our readership won’t be browsing this till next week, thanks to Hurricane/Blizzard Sandy. This post is coming to you from wintery West Virginia, about an hour’s drive from that twenty-six inch snowfall you’ve been hearing about on the news. And not only is your power out, your heat not working, and your smartphone almost out of battery, but the topic of this post was last night’s late-night monologue compilation, which you probably didn’t see because your power is out, your heat’s not working, and your smartphone is almost out of battery.
Last night, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon performed live shows to empty studios. Completely empty. The NYC based studios sent their audiences home to go prepare for the coming onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. And rightly so! It turns out the storm was just as bad as everyone said it was going to be to the mid-Atlantic and New England coastal areas. Rest assured that we here at Mockingbird are praying for a quick recovery to all suffering communities, be they covered in sand, snow, fallen trees, or storm debris.
If you watch the monologues, you’ll find them to be eerily quiet. Both comedians flounder on stage without an audience to interact with. Both co-hosts do their best to fill the quiet gap, but the monologue ironically requires an audience to be effective. These television superstars do their best, but when Frankenstorm is bearing down on you with the force of a hurricane, humor takes back seat to surviving.
Once again, an institution created to distract us from the realities, anxieties, and inevitability of death could not stand. It was Jimmy Fallon’s production staff that, as you’ll see in the video, made audience members stand in line at grocery stores to stock up on batteries instead of standing inline for a pre-storm distraction. Yes, we frail creatures and the infrastructures we build are weak and easily ended, until, of course, He returns or calls us home. But the empty studio is a powerful reminder how feeble our abilities are to maintain the facade that “everything is OK” and “we are in control of our futures.”
The best joke of the night? This one-liner from youtube: “That’s what Leno’s show sounds like with a studio audience.”