Back on March 12th, 2020, NBC and CBS announced that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert were suspending productions as the pandemic suddenly started to overwhelm the city. It was an early marker for just how drastically everything was about to change in NYC. A few weeks later, all those shows returned with intimate home editions that captured the anxious, cloistered mood of the nation; a few months after that, they returned to their studios for shows without live audiences.
But just as their shutdowns were markers of the state of the city last spring, so too is their return: starting in early June, both Colbert and Fallon will begin having shows again with fully-vaccinated audiences.
Mayor Bill de Blasio got to make the announcement about Colbert during his morning press conference on Monday. “A full audience of vaccinated folks” will soon be “enjoying one of the great comedians of our time,” de Blasio said. “There’s no stopping New York. There’s no stopping Stephen Colbert.”
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will once again welcome full audiences to the Ed Sullivan Theater starting June 14th; it can house over 400 people, the largest of any of the late night shows which are filmed in NYC. The Late Show produced 205 episodes remotely since the initial shutdown.
"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 a statement today. "I look forward to once again doing shows for an audience I can smell and touch."
While all audience members will have to be vaccinated, face masks will be optional. Saturday Night Live had its season finale on Saturday with its first 100% capacity of fully vaccinated audience members this season.
No date has been announced yet when the Fallon audience will be back according to Deadline, which first reported the news. Fallon previous started bringing back limited audiences (less than 60 people) in March.