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‘Kimmel’ Guest Host Pete Buttigieg Employs Fake Audience Footage: ‘Just Like Trump’s Inauguration’

The regular studio audience was canceled over coronavirus precautions

Former South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg guest-hosted “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday night, but ended up doing it in front of a very small audience due to coronavirus concerns.

“This is a strange night for us not only because this is my first time hosting a talk show,” he said, adding, “We’re doing it without a regular studio audience. Due to public health concerns over the coronavirus, we have canceled the studio audience tonight, but a few kind Kimmel staffers and friends, my husband Chasten — all here instead.”

Referencing the empty cheers between the sparse but enthusiastic audience members, Buttigieg said the show had opted for the “CDC-recommended distance” to reduce contact, but called the whole thing “disappointing” overall.

“The only way we’re going to get through this crisis is with unity, so let’s do this together,” he said. “Who’s with me?”

The show team cut to a shot of a cheering audience, waving American flags and sporting thick coats, but Buttigieg quickly admitted “none of those people” were actually there: “When you don’t have a real audience, you have to fake one… just like Trump’s inauguration.”

The segment on the coronavirus spread wasn’t limited to attacks on President Donald Trump, whose administration has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic. Instead, Buttigieg called on viewers to contact their congressional representatives in support of a bill “right now in Congress that will provide free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs it, paid emergency leave and unemployment insurance for workers who are laid off because of the economic shock.”

Watch Mayor Pete’s monologue above.