After showing off the extensive safety protocols at Rockefeller Center, Fallon took on Trump's mask, attacks on Fauci and more with no one to laugh at his jokes except The Roots.
Just as we were starting to get used to "The Tonight Show" at-home editions -- and falling in love with Jimmy Fallon's adorable daughters -- the late-night host went and returned to his studio.
Unfortunately, just as there was a substantial learning curve for Fallon to find his comedic chops under such remarkable circumstances of having to try and produce a television show from his home, it looks like he's now facing a new challenge.
For one thing, he'd finally adapted pretty well to the different energy he experienced each night with his wife behind the camera and his young daughters running amok.
He could banter playfully with his daughters between jokes, knowing that there was a sweet humor in those moments audiences would connect to.
It's a very different energy than he got used to in the studio, where he could feed off of those instant audience reactions to see when a joke was landing and when one wasn't. Now that he's back in the studio, his instincts seem to be reaching for that audience response and instead finding ... The Roots.
Perhaps the funniest moment of the whole opening segment came when he was trying to be sincere and offer a message of hope to all those living in states experiencing renewed surges in coronavirus cases, and even deaths.
Just being in the studio stands as a testament to how things have slowly begun to improve in New York due to strict safety measures put in place. At one time New York was the COVID-19 epicenter of the world, with cases out of control and hospital ICUs overwhelmed.
Now, things have improved to the point that Fallon was able to return to work (albeit in a drastically modified way). But he's not blind to the fact that his current experience is vastly different from what some other states are experiencing. But it can serve as a statement of hope.
"As a New Yorker, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped get us back to where we are now. Wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, quarantining. It all helps," he said. "And to all the states going through the tough parts right now ... I know how hard it is and, uh, I'm not gonna lie to you. It's rough."
"But I guess I'm here to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we all do our part to keep each other safe," he continued.
Then, things quickly went off the rail as he tried to make a statement about how strange it is to try and do comedy during such extraordinary times. It might have made more sense were he not already doing comedy through the pandemic all these months. Regardless, it seemed to leave everyone in the room, including Fallon, a little baffled.
"These are the hardest times to do comedy, but they're also the times when we need it the most," he said, adding. "Maybe that's why comedy was invented."
As the silence marinated and he looked off, it was clear Fallon was missing that audience energy to tell him where to go from here. Finally, as The Roots started to laugh at the awkwardness, he mused. "Hmm. Chew on that as you go drifting off to sleep, let that marinate for a bit before you flip it on the grill."
Kind of made us hope for the girls to come running onto the set to tackle Daddy before the silence takes us all.
He did a little better as he moved into his monologue proper, taking on the president's attacks on Dr. Fauci, commuting Roger Stone's sentence and the most miraculous thing of all.
"This weekend, for the first time, President Trump wore a mask in public," Fallon said. "Yeah, it was a really smart move, if today were March 13."
"You know we’re just a few days away from Trump claiming he was the first one to wear a mask," Fallon joked. He also poked fun at a later pic of Trump's mask no longer covering his nose, which goes against all guidelines.
"A few hours later he was wearing it as a banana hammock," he joked. You can check out the full monologue, with awkward pauses and spatters of laughter, below. This is clearly a work in progress.