Hurricane Irene killed nearly 40 people, inconvenienced tens of millions and caused billions of dollars in damage this past weekend.
And yet, TV’s late-night comics — the ones who aren’t on vacation this week — still found some way to work the destructive storm into their monologues and comedy routines Monday night.
“The big story, of course — hurricane Irene,” bellowed Jay Leno, leading off his “Tonight Show” monologue on NBC. “It turned out not to be as bad as originally thought, which is good news. It was actually downgraded to a tropical storm. How sad is that? Even our hurricanes are being downgraded now!”
“Damage was thankfully less than many predicted,” Leno continued. “In fact, Wall Street didn’t get flooded at all. They were protected by a huge wall made out of federal stimulus cash!”
“It was still pretty bad,” Leno said. “In fact, over 6 million people were evacuated from New Jersey. Today, three of them went back!”
Meanwhile, David Letterman devoted his “Top Ten” list on Monday night’s “Late Show” on CBS to a Hurricane Irene story that might now turn out to be erroneous.
Many news sources — credible or otherwise — reported on Washington, D.C., TV reporter Tucker Barnes (from the local Fox station WTTG) reporting live from the water’s edge in Ocean City, Md., during the storm, covered in what he described as “sea foam.” Later, though, the story circulated that he was, in fact, covered unfortunately in raw sewage, resulting in the Letterman Top Ten titled “Thoughts Going Through This Guy’s Mind at This Moment.” The raw-sewage story was later poo-pooed by Ocean City authorities, according to this story.
Jimmy Fallon also took up the subject of Irene in his monologue on NBC’s New York-based “Late Night.” “Man oh man,” Fallon said, “New York City spent the entire weekend preparing for hurricane Irene. I don’t want to say I over-prepared, but tonight, everyone in the audience is going home with a box of D batteries!”
“The storm was huge news,” Fallon said. “In fact, the Weather Channel reported something they hadn’t seen in years — viewers!”