On Monday night, as scheduled, the late-night TV lineup kicked into reruns, as all shows have suspended production for at least two weeks because of concerns about the novel coronavirus. “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” aired a repeat. So did “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” along with “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden.”

Stephen Colbert? Well, he took a different approach.

“Hey, everybody! Hi! Welcome to my bathroom,” the host said while sitting in a bubble-filled tub, dressed in a jacket and tie. “You’re watching a very special social distancing edition of ‘The Late Show.’ Or as I now call it, ‘The Lather Show With Scrubbin’ Colbert.' My first guest tonight, as you can see, is Mr. Bubble, followed by a musical performance by the legendary duo Head & Shoulders.”

It was not what you expected to see on TV at 11:35 p.m. — his Twitter account teased the bathtub situation only 45 minutes before the episode aired on the East Coast.

Besides the fact that he was submerged in bubbles, it was a pretty standard monologue, as Colbert noted that the biggest story of the day was the fact that so many people were in self-quarantine.

“I’m sure a lot of you are worried, but if you’re watching this from home, know that you’re doing the right thing. I’m at home, every member of my staff is home, because we need to slow the spread of this virus,” he said. “Epidemiologists call this 'flattening the curve.’ But based on my current level of inactivity and stress baking, I definitely will not be flattening my curves.” (He showed off a pear-and-almond-cream tart that he claimed he baked himself.)

On March 12, late-night television hosts cracked jokes in front of empty seats, the result of coronavirus measures. Two shows went on hiatus until March 30. (The Washington Post)

Colbert also addressed President Trump’s newly somber tone during a news conference on Monday, where he reversed course in claiming he had the virus under control. Trump now said, “If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for any place in the world.”

“That’s as comforting as a parent tucking in their child,” Colbert said dryly. “Relax, kids, there aren’t just monsters under your beds, there are monsters in all the beds all around the world, and I don’t have any of it under control. Good night!”

He also took aim at Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) for encouraging people to go out (“But to be fair, nothing gets people to avoid going somewhere than knowing they might run into Devin Nunes”) and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) for tweeting a photo of his family out for dinner (“His tweet went viral — of course, not as viral as everyone else at that restaurant did”). Colbert also had a song for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who was spotted at his local YMCA:

“It’s fun to stay at your H-O-M-E

Cause if you don’t we’ll be D-E-A-D

You can talk to yourself, you can water your plants

You can walk around without pants!”

Colbert ended with an inspirational message for all Americans who have gone from couch potatoes to heroes: “To paraphrase, in the immortal words of John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask how many episodes of ‘Love Is Blind’ you watch in one sitting.” He then introduced a segment in which his producer’s mother went to the doctor to ask coronavirus questions. Afterward, the show aired a repeat of his February interview with Jim Carrey.

When asked whether Colbert will continue airing monologues from his bathtub for the remainder of the show’s hiatus, a “Late Show” spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

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