John Oliver goes minimal for ‘Last Week Tonight’ due to coronavirus

With much of his team working from home and the CBS Broadcaster Center in New York City still partially closed due to the coronavirus, John Oliver was forced to relocate “Last Week Tonight” for the Sunday, March 15, 2020, edition of the show.

Oliver addressed the change at the top of the show noting, “This is weird, isn’t it… As you can clearly tell, this isn’t going to be our usual show this week.”

“We do like to shake things up a bit now and then whenever we can, and also… our actual studio might be full of coronavirus,” the comedian said. “Both the place where we normally tape on Sunday and our office building had confirmed cases of coronavirus this week, so our staff has been working from home, and we’re currently taping this somewhere else with a very limited crew.”

The makeshift setup was missing an audience, like other shows still in production, using only a small desk and white cyc.

Oliver noted the barren look was reminiscent of the place “movie characters go when they’ve just died” or the studio where the “Kars 4 Kids” commercials were filmed.

“Last Week Tonight” typically originates from Studio 42 at the CBS facility, which is shared with “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” 

Multiple CBS staffers have contracted the coronavirus, and broadcasts have temporarily moved to alternate locations while cleaning is undertaken.