end times

Whoopi Goldberg Welcoming Empty Chairs to The View Is Coronavirus Culture

A View of Whoopi Goldberg Photo: Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty

If your favorite surreal, disorienting clip from The View is still Joy Behar Surprises Her Co-Hosts with Christmas Lasagna,” honey, you better get with the times. Large crowds are staying home from festivals, concerts, and Jeopardy! tapings in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus — which means that getting to sit beside our fellow man under hot studio lighting while enjoying communal pasta is now, unfortunately, a thing of the past.

So today The View served up a new dystopian clip for our end-times, funny and unsettling in equal measure. Wednesday’s episode of The View began with upbeat music blaring and Whoopi Goldberg saying, “Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to The View!” This is normal for about 1.2 seconds, at which point the camera pans across rows and rows of empty chairs. It’s a totally empty audience. Goldberg gestures, arms open wide, to the not-there people. The music is so loud and the effect so odd that you can almost swear you hear the phantom din of a crowd. I’ve played it over 1,000 times and can’t tell whether those are disembodied whoo!-s I hear, like the remnant sonic traces of lasagna enjoyers past. Kudos to Whoopi for trying to keep morale high during these bizarre times, and kudos to Joy for being the only host at the table to reach for the Purell.

The View, alongside other daytime series Live With Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall, will tape without in-studio audiences indefinitely, according to Deadline. Even queen of chaos Wendy Williams will forego live audiences on her show, according to a statement from the series. Without an audience to call-and-respond with, how will she ever know how you is doin’?

Whoopi Goldberg Welcomes Empty Chairs to The View