CBS announced Monday that Stephen Colbert will bring a live audience back to his nightly talk show beginning June 14.
As reported by Variety, Colbert’s “Late Show” has had no audience in the studio for 205 episodes. During the pandemic, Colbert hosted the show from his house but recently moved back into a room at the Ed Sullivan Theater which is where the show has been filmed for years.
The return will be done in adherence to New York State’s adoption of CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals and has been reviewed by the state officials. Guests will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated prior to entering. Face masks will be optional. All staff and crew members will continue to be tested prior to commencing work on a regular basis, as well as screened daily for symptoms. In addition, a COVID-19 compliance officer will be on staff to monitor and enforce all health and safety protocols.
“Over the last 437 days, my staff and crew (and family!) have amazed me with their professionalism and creativity as we made shows for an audience we couldn’t see or hear,” Colbert said in the announcement. “I look forward to once again doing shows for an audience I can smell and touch.”
Last March, Colbert was the first host of a late-night show to return to broadcasting and notably performed his monologue from his bathtub.
Additional shows have returned to pre-pandemic traditions recently, as well. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” broadcasted its show in front of a full, live group of people at its Studio 8H at the network’s Rockefeller Plaza headquarters. The network had reportedly been bringing in small crowds of audience members, including first responders, in order to experience the show socially-distanced. Bill Maher’s “Real Time” on HBO has incorporated the use of smaller, live groups of people.
Late-night talk show hosts have changed their platforms this year, but their avoidance of certain political topics in an effort to be “woke” continues to stunt their overall comedic appeal.
As reported by The Daily Wire, Kyle Mann, the editor-in-chief of the Babylon Bee, the conservative Christian satirical site, slammed late-night television talk-show hosts in a piece for National Review, asserting, “The Left is increasingly the party of self-righteous zealots, disciples of a leftist religion that they cannot laugh about.”
Mann wasn’t shy about criticizing his own side of the political aisle: “Let’s admit something here: Conservatives can be pretty bad at comedy. … I’ve gotta admit, I’ve written some stinkers in my day too. But we’ve got to be honest with ourselves. Conservatives have tried and failed to put out good comedy shows and films to rival the late-night propaganda emanating from the left every weeknight. The problem with many of these attempts is that they were trying to make a point first and be funny second.”
Then he turned to the talk-show hosts, who from Jimmy Kimmel to Stephen Colbert to Seth Meyers to Jimmy Fallon all hail from the political Left, as well as other “comedians”: “[T]he Left is increasingly the party of self-righteous zealots, disciples of a leftist religion that they cannot laugh about. The great pronoun debate is a goldmine of contradictions and absurdities, but they will not touch it.”