If a comic makes a joke and no one is there to laugh, is it still funny?

You’ll get to answer that question for yourself Monday night (Oct. 29) when “The Late Show with David Letterman” airs without a studio audience. Letterman (along with NBC’s Jimmy Fallon) went ahead with tapings of their shows Monday afternoon as Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward New York City, and both did so without live audiences. In Letterman’s case, it sounds like regular announcer Alan Kalter was absent as well.

In the snippet of Letterman’s opening that CBS released, he takes to his desk to read some of his jokes rather than delivering them standing up on stage. What follows is kind of a meta-monologue, with Letterman telling us how a joke would have gone and bandleader Paul Shaffer chiming in on whether the joke is funny.

“It’s a whole different perspective when you’re sitting here reading them,” Letterman says. You can hear the crew laughing at a couple of points, including at Letterman’s response to a clunker of a joke about listening for the “talk-show closings” on the radio earlier in the day. “Wait a minute — I think I hear people banging at the door of the theater, demanding to come in,” he says.

“The Late Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.

Posted by:Rick Porter