Jimmy Fallon returns to ‘Tonight Show’ studio for first time since COVID-19 shutdown

Jimmy Fallon and the Roots have returned to Rockefeller Plaza.

On Monday, “The Tonight Show” team filmed its first in-studio episode since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, and Fallon outlined the many safety measures implemented to make its Studio 6A homecoming possible.

Precautions included multiple COVID-19 tests and temperature checks, face masks and shields worn by the crew and strict 6-feet social distancing observed by all.

“As a New Yorker, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped get us back to where we are now. Wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, quarantining — it all helps,” Fallon said.

“And to all the states going through the tough parts right now ... I know how hard it is, and I’m not gonna lie to you — it’s rough. But I guess I’m here to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we all do our part to keep each other safe.”

Much like Fallon’s at-home shows, the episode was filmed without an audience, while guests Charlize Theron and Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited via video chat. Fallon also revealed that he was administered an additional nasal swab upon entering the studio, where signs marking areas that have “been cleaned and disinfected” are posted.

“I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but normalcy — any type of normalcy — feels great,” Fallon continued. “So hopefully we can put a smile on your face for an hour every night and let you sit back and relax while we try to bring you just a little bit of normal. These are the hardest times to do comedy, but they’re also the times when we need it the most.”


After the coronavirus shuts down production on late-night TV, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah and other hosts film mini-shows in their homes.

During the show, Fallon caught up with the governor of New York about the progress the city has made amid the public health emergency, and talked with “The Old Guard” star Theron about the effect of the worldwide protests against racial injustice on her two daughters.

“They handled it really well,” Theron said of recent conversations she’s had with her kids. “I think it was heartbreaking, at first. They couldn’t understand that people would let something like [the killing of George Floyd] happen ... and then they really wanted to be proactive.”

Fallon filmed his first “At Home Edition” of “The Tonight Show” months ago with the help of his wife, young daughters and dog, Gary. Along with his late-night TV colleagues, the pandemic forced the comedian to abruptly exit the studio — after briefly experimenting with a no-audience format — and begin shooting from his house in March.