Pete Buttigieg Hosts 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' Without Live Audience Due to Coronavirus

Though Pete Buttigieg is no longer in the running for president, the former Democratic candidate says he's now "running to be the next host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

The mayor took over for Kimmel Thursday night as he stepped into hosting shoes. Though his first time hosting, Buttigieg had to host without a live audience — something many other late-night shows and programs are doing amid the coronavirius. 

"Due to public health concerns over the coronavirus — we have cancelled the studio audience tonight. But a few kind Kimmel staffers and some friends, my husband Chasten are here instead — we’re gonna have a great time. Everyone is spread apart at the CDC-recommended distance," he said during his opening monologue. "This was not our plan. We just decided this a few hours ago. And it’s disappointing, because as you all know, I love to crowd surf. It’s kinda my thing." 

He then made a jab at President Donald Trump, comparing the empty audience to that of Trump's inauguration. "But when you don't have a real audience — you have to fake one, just like Trump's inauguration." 

Jokes aside, Buttigieg took a moment to offer encouragement to those who are concerned about the coronavirus, ensuring that "the only way we're going to get through this crisis is with unity." "So let's do this together." 

Addressing Trump's message to America regarding the pandemic, Buttigieg says he agrees that "this virus is no match for the American people" and they must take action in order to get through it. He called for Congress to pass the bill aimed to provide free coronavirus testing, paid emergency sick leave and unemployment insurance for workers who are laid off due to economy struggle.

"Thanks for your support Eric, Don Jr., whoever that was standing next to you," he quipped. 

"I know this is a time of great anxiety for our country. But believe me when I say — that the resolve of our nation is strong. Our ideals run deep, and America will always be America. In fact, here is living proof of that — from last night’s Masked Singer," Buttigieg continued, making reference to Sarah Palin recently making an appearance on the show. "That’s going to be me in three months, isn’t it?" 

Later in his monologue, Buttigieg addressed why he was chosen to host Jimmy Kimmel Live! while the late-night host taped Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

"A lot of folks are wondering how I ended up getting booked to host this show — and all I can say is that Iowa Caucus app really screwed everything up," he said. 

He added: "Actually — Jimmy asked me to fill in because right now he is off taping Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Which is a game show that Michael Bloomberg won 56 thousand times in a row." 

"You know some people have been skeptical about me hosting a show like this. They’re like, 'You’re too inexperienced … you’ll never be a good late-night host.' Well, a lot of people said I’d never get elected president — and I showed them!

Joking that after ending his presidential campaign he's "got nothing else going on," Buttigieg says he felt it was right to walk away unlike others who have chosen not to. "Some candidates know when it’s time to get out of the race, and some candidates are Tulsi Gabbard." 

"I do hope — at the very least — my presidential run has inspired some people. I mean right now — somewhere out there in America — there could a young kid thinking: “One day, I too can run for president while dressed like the manager of a Carmax."

"And although we didn’t win, we did achieve some pretty big milestones. I’m the first gay person to ever win a presidential primary or caucus. And the first gay man in 30 years to wear pleated pants. We all have our journey." 

Later in the night, Buttigieg welcomed guests Sir Patrick Stewart and Tony Hale. He also interviewed at Wetzel's Pretzels to jokingly find a job for a segment. Though the manger said he wasn't "Wetzel's material," he proceeded to hand out free samples to pedestrians outside.