David Letterman's and Jimmy Fallon's monologue jokes on their late-night talk shows on Monday night mostly fell flat - notably because there was almost no one there to clap for them.
The two taped their programs that day without much of a studio audience as scores of people in New York City, where the programs are filmed, and the rest of the East Coast hunkered down and avoided traveling due to the devastating Hurricane-turned-Superstorm Sandy.
Even the announcer used a pun to introduce Letterman on CBS's "Late Show," saying: "And now, the perfect storm - David Letterman."
"Thank you so much," the host and comedian said to the crew members near the stage. At his desk, he rattled off the jokes he says he would have told "if we had an audience."
"I come out and I say, 'Well, so much for the drought," he said, with a straight face. "That would have been the opener."
"That would have been a funny opener right there," sidekick and band leader Paul Schaffer added.
"I got up this morning, turned on the radio and listened for the talk show closings. I have no luck," Letterman said, adding in his usual sarcastic demeanor: "Wait a minute, I think I hear people banging on the door of the theater, demanding to come in. 'Wait a minute! We don't want to miss this!'"
His Top Ten list was titled "Top Ten Rejected Names For The Frankenstorm" and included hand-crafted cardboard signs and entries such as "Trumpical Storm" - a jab at Donald Trump, last week's guest - and "The New Hurricane Loco From Taco Bell."
Fallon had hours before Monday's episode of NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" offered his fans via Twitter a free pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream if they came to the taping. He then Tweeted: "We sent our audience home just to be safe. But we are doing our show tonight anyway. Should be fun. #LateNight"
He opened the show on a wet street in Manhattan, amid Sandy's strong winds. He was then seen entering his studio and performing his monologue in his usual spot on stage, while his band played. A handful of people were seen in the front seats of the studio.
"Hurricane Sandy is here and is causing all sorts of problems," he said. "We're just happy to be doing a show tonight because the storm has forced a lot of shows to shut down production, including 'Maury.' It's a little frustrating when Maury was like, 'Jeff your paternity test is in and you are ... gonna have to wait two days for the results.'"
"On to movies - they're not doing much better," Fallon continued. "They're saying that the weekend box office took a major hit because of preparation for Sandy and also 'cause no one knows what the hell a 'Cloud Atlas' is. I still don't know what it is,'" he said, drawing laughs from the few people in the audience.
"Cloud Atlas," a sci-fi film co-produced by the makers of "The Matrix" and starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, flopped at the box office over the weekend.
Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show," which also feature studio audiences, were also among the New York-based shows that shut down production due to the storm.
ABC's late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" is based in Los Angeles but was set to film shows in New York this week and canceled its Monday taping. Host Jimmy Kimmel and Fallon are set to film their programs on Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Letterman plans to film his show on Tuesday without a studio audience, according to a message posted on his program's Twitter page. He is set to feature Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel.