If a joke lands in a theater without an audience, does it still get a laugh?
Yes, but only from the people at home. Or so David Letterman discovered Monday as he delivered one of his strangest monologues, becoming the late-night equivalent of a tree falling in the woods with almost no one to hear it. At least, almost no one watching live.
Letterman taped without an audience Monday afternoon because of Hurricane Sandy, and CBS released an early clip of his opening monologue to an empty Ed Sullivan Theater. The "Late Show" will air tonight at its normal time.
The clip finds Letterman sitting at his desk, reading Paul Schaffer and the band the jokes he would have told his studio audience if he had one.
The response, not surpringly, is near silence. At one point Letterman jokes that he can hear people at the theater door, demanding to come in.
Letterman and NBC's Jimmy Fallon opted to tape audience-free Monday to make sure no one would be injured going to or leaving a taping. Other late-night shows planning to tape in New York -- including "Jimmy Kimmel Live," which picked an unfortunate week to travel from Hollywood to Brooklyn -- canceled Monday's tapings.
Watch the video: