Jonathan Ross marked his return to television by repeating his apology for the Andrew Sachs scandal.
The 47-year-old was suspended from his Friday night chat show for 12 weeks after he and Russell Brand left a series of offensive messages on the Fawlty Towers actor's answering machine.
While filming Friday night's show at Television Centre in west London, Ross promised to be "more aware" in future.
Sky News reporter Enda Brady was among the 300-strong audience. He said that Ross, wearing a red suit and white shirt, began the performance with a series of jokes about outgoing US president George Bush.
He then said: "What kind of idiot would say stuff like that, knowing it would be broadcast? Seriously, I would like to apologise. We have got a great responsibility, what we do is a privilege and I will be more aware in future."
Ross's wife Jane arrived at the studios to support her husband. A long queue of audience members snaked around part of the BBC building as they waited to get in.
Tom Cruise, one of the guests on the show, arrived in a blacked-out car without commenting to reporters.
Brady said Ross's first words to the audience as he walked out to noisy applause were: "So, where were we?"
Ross said someone had sent him a gargoyle with his face and joked that he looked up the definition of gargoyle in the dictionary to find it described as: "Something that spills filth into the gutter."
Brady said that when Lee Evans, one of the guests on the show, used a swearword, Ross kicked him off, saying they were in a "brave new age".