Off The Air: Talk Shows Move to Youtube for Quarantine

Jake Matz, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of life, and U.S. unemployment rates are on the rise and the economy is down. Although popular talk shows are unable to film on their platforms, they are still readily available– on a monitor rather than a TV.

Because social distancing and quarantine have prevented access to sets and the studio, talk show hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon have all moved their respective shows to YouTube. Augustus Lindell, a sophomore at McCallum high school, is an avid fan of John Oliver’s talk show, which has moved to a new set and gotten rid of its live audience.

“[I’ve watched] Last Week Tonight,” Lindell said. “The set is different, but it still seems to be studio quality. Due to it not being filmed live anymore, there’s a weird lack of audience feedback like laughter and applause.”

The new home studio and remote production are designed to get rid of any risk of transmission of COVID-19. Lindell finds, however, that this does not come at a great cost of quality, as any production is good enough for those stuck at home.

“It is a good response because it keeps their content as close as it can be to normal, but minimizes the potential for risk,” Lindell said. “Entertainment is, of course, good for people in quarantine”.

Max Miller is a sophomore at LASA and another fan of Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. Max uses the show to get his news and political commentary and said he finds that the show has been able to keep its quality as the host is still the same.

“I’ve been watching the John Oliver show,” Miller said. “Much of the show is the same, even now that the show is shot inside of his home instead of the studio in which it is usually shot.”

Unlike most movie and television sets which have had to shut down, talk shows are based on a single host. This has allowed their transition to YouTube to be much smoother. And with Youtube providing free access to viewers, the audience has remained much the same.

“I think that the show has been able to retain its audience,” Miller said. “Many of its segments are the same.”

John Oliver has come forth in saying that the main priorities are the health of the crew and, of course, the audience. These priorities are seen in the show’s response on Youtube.

“I believe this is a good response because it maintains the entertainment of the normal show whilst not endangering those involved with the show’s production,” Miller said.

Nick Robertson is a sophomore at LASA who is a longtime viewer of the Tonight Show. He said quarantine has given him an opportunity to watch more regularly.

“I religiously watch Jimmy Fallon,” Robertson said. “The switch to watching Jimmy at home was a wonderful transition”.

Jimmy Fallon has begun hosting the show from his home as well. However, the change of scenery to Fallon’s extravagant multi-million dollar home has shown the disconnect between celebrities and the average person and has stopped some commentary from connecting with the viewer.

“The set has changed to different parts of Jimmy’s massive and exquisitely decorated rooms,” Robertson said. “Jimmy’s jokes began to be really bad and cringey”.

According to Robertson, there is still one common factor between everyone stuck at home right now, which has kept a connection with viewers. It also helps create solace in the universal struggle.

“The target audience has not changed,” Robertson said. “Entertainment like this is necessary for quarantine.”
Although quarantine will likely be in place for a while longer, people can still find a reprieve in the relocated talk shows and their home on Youtube.