By Heather Gardner
May 01, 2020 at 10:01 AM EDT
Brad Pitt; Dave Grohl
Credit: NBC; ABC

My husband said to me this week: “I’m kinda getting used to this.” 

It’s true. We’re now roughly seven weeks into social distancing and this “new normal” has just become the regular normal, all part of our new routine. For me, and many others, that routine includes tuning into all the late-night shows’ at home editions for a few laughs in the evening. 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all Americans. While I and the late-night hosts have adapted, the medical professionals on the front lines of fighting Covid-19 aren’t afforded the same luxury. The doctors, nurses, and first responders “new normal” is a routine that, frankly, most of us can’t fathom. Not to mention the millions of essential workers risking their own health day in and day out.  

So, as the late-night shows have settled in, I’m sure glad many took time to recognize the incredible work being done by these brave people. 

The biggest clip of the week, maybe even the year for the long-running NBC show, happened on Saturday Night Live at Home. Brad Pitt hosted the show with an instant classic cold open; The Oscar winner portrayed America’s favorite infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

The casting was actually dreamed up by Dr. Fauci himself! While doing an interview with CNN’s New Day Fauci was playfully asked which actor he’d like to see portray him if and when SNL included him in a sketch. It was bound to happen eventually given his sudden household name status and close proximity to President Trump.

While Pitt delivered the impersonation impeccably, the best moment came when the sketch was over. In a truly unprecedented move, the actor removed his glasses and grey-haired wig. Costume set aside, Pitt spoke directly to the camera saying, “thank you to the medical workers, first responders, and their families, for being on the front line.”

Jimmy Kimmel also took time to honor TJ Riley, a nurse at the Jacobi Medical Center in The Bronx, NY who also battled the disease himself. As part of the show’s “Healthcare Hero of the Week,” segment Kimmel surprised Riley with a video call from Foo Fighters’ frontman, David Grohl. 

Man, did the clip pull at my heartstrings when Grohl played an acoustic version of “Everlong” while photos and videos of nurses from across the country appeared on screen. Not gonna lie, I teared up! And the look on Riley’s face, obviously a huge fan, was so moving. 

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobachar described her husband, John’s, harrowing experience with COVID-19 which included a 5-6 day hospital stay. She, too, spoke highly of the doctors and nurses on the front lines. “You wanna hug those healthcare workers, and you can’t. They’re the ones that are holding the phone up by his ear," she shared. 

The late-night shows have always been meant to entertain us, and they still do during their at-home broadcasts – even more so, in some ways! The confinement has made the shows reach out of the box for creativity.

It’s been such a welcome breath of fresh air! But I am very grateful the hosts and celebrity guests haven’t lost sight of the true heroes behind this pandemic.

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