By JAKE COYLE, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — For the second night in a row, superstorm Sandy and its aftermath forced David Letterman to live out that performer's nightmare: Telling jokes to a vacant theater, or as he called it, "a big ol' empty barn."
Letterman hosting the "Late Show" to an unpeopled Ed Sullivan Theater on Tuesday, as he did on Monday, was the oddest sight of the considerable and continuing cultural fallout of the hurricane that left New York institutions like Broadway, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center no more open for business than the city's damaged subway system.
But the New York entertainment industry was fighting to go on with the show, and none more than several of the city's late-night shows. Though "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show" canceled tapings for the second day, the "Late Show," Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night" and a traveling out-of-towner, ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," went ahead with shows Tuesday.
When "Late Show" band leader Paul Schafer asked Letterman how they were supposed to approach such an awkward situation, Letterman quickly replied: "Just like every night: We pretend the audience isn't here."
When Letterman introduced his first guest, Kate Hudson, the actress didn't stride out; instead appeared a middle-aged bald man — presumably an employee of the "Late Show" — who bantered with Letterman as if he were Hudson.
The three shows took varied approaches to inviting audiences to brave the difficult transportation prospects. Kimmel, a Brooklyn native, had planned to begin a week of shows in the borough on Monday. He began them a day late on Tuesday — with audience — at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
"I was born in Bay Ridge. I grew up in Mill Basin, and tonight I have returned to save my people from the storm," said Kimmel, referring to Brooklyn neighborhoods. "Thank you for ignoring the local authorities to be here tonight."
Like Letterman, Fallon had hosted his show Monday without an audience — an experience that guest Seth Meyers compared to watching Charlie Rose "if he had a band and everybody was a little high" — but he happily welcomed audience members back on Tuesday.
"First off, thanks to our great audience for making it out to the show tonight," Fallon began his monologue Tuesday. "I'm so glad you're here, because last night's audience was the worst."
As the city took account of the damage wrought by the storm, the aftermath of Sandy continued to cause the cancellations of film premieres, film and TV production and even that most unshakable performer: Bruce Springsteen.
The Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert scheduled for Tuesday night at the Rochester Blue Cross Arena in upstate New York was postponed until Wednesday because of flight cancellations for the band and ticket holders.
The city revoked film permits for a second day Tuesday. The sets of "Smash," ''Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," ''30 Rock," ''Deception" and "Do No Harm" were closed, NBC said, and "SVU" won't tape Wednesday. Other series temporarily knocked out of production included "666 Park," ''Gossip Girl" and "Person of Interest."
Films forced to stop shooting include Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" and Akiva Goldsman's "Winter's Tale," and the Tuesday premiere of Joe Wright's Tolstoy adaptation "Anna Karenina" was canceled.
ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" show and "CBS This Morning" aired live Tuesday with extensive storm coverage, though "GMA" was forced to cancel its planned Wednesday Halloween special.
Daytime shows were less successful, with production called off for "Live! With Kelly and Michael," ''Katie," ''The View" and "The Chew." ABC said work on all the programs would resume Wednesday.
All 40 Broadway theaters were closed, and while most hoped to open Wednesday, both "The Lion King" and "Mary Poppins" announced that Wednesday's shows would also be canceled.
The thriving downtown off-Broadway community was still assessing the damage and likely facing a longer time off. The superstorm forced the well-respected Vineyard Theatre in Union Square to cancel performances of its world-premiere production of "Checkers," which was to open Wednesday. And the staff of the SoHo Rep, just a few blocks south of Canal Street, was dealing with no power and some flooding in the basement, on a day that was supposed to be the first technical rehearsal of a play about African genocide by Jackie Sibblies Drury.