Stephen Colbert: ‘Only thing spreading faster than Omicron is misinformation’

·4 min read

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert tried to separate fact from fiction regarding the Omicron variant on Monday evening, as demand for vaccines spiked across the nation. Given fears about transmissibility of the variant, which is still poorly understood, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio this week unveiled the nation’s first vaccine mandate for private companies, which will apply to 184,000 businesses.

“That’s the full range of New York businesses, from Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, to Original Ray’s Famous Pizza Ray,” the Late Show host joked.

De Blasio also imposed proof of vaccination requirements for all kids between the ages of 5 and 11 entering restaurants, theaters and gyms. “That’s great, we’ve got to make it safe for our 6-year-olds to hit the leg press,” Colbert quipped.

Related: Stephen Colbert on the US supreme court: ‘We don’t live in a democracy’

Still, “the only thing spreading faster than Omicron is misinformation from conservatives,” he continued, such as Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who tweeted over the weekend: “Every single year more than 600,000 people in the US die from cancer. The country has never once shut down. Not a single school has closed.”

“Because cancer is not contagious, you nimrod,” Colbert responded. “That’s like comparing apples and oranges to cancer.”

Greene wasn’t the only GOP lawmaker to sow doubt over the legitimacy of a virus variant. On Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show last week, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said: “Fauci did the exact same thing with Aids. He overhyped it.”

“Yes, Aids: the pandemic the federal government famously took too seriously,” Colbert deadpanned. “Well, if Aids was overhyped, Senator Johnson, then I guess you don’t have to wear protection when you go fuck yourself.”

Seth Meyers

On Late Night, Seth Meyers also touched on confusion surrounding the Omicron variant. “Thankfully, scientists being the cautious, measured people that they are, have given it a totally benign and not at all terrifying name,” he joked.

“The Omicron Variant sounds like a paperback I read at my grandma’s house because there was nothing else to do.”

“Seriously, the Omicron variant? I thought scientists were supposed to be mild-mannered, analytical types who don’t want you to panic,” he continued. “I get that they’re just going by the Greek alphabet, but the Greek alphabet is very scary. I propose we start naming the variants after popular child stars of the 90s. I would just panic less if Fauci was on TV talking about the Lipnicki variant.”

Omicron, “AKA Haley Joel Omicron,” is already in the US, yet Fox News “is dismissing it as some sort of liberal hoax”, Meyers reported.

Former White House physician and now Maga congressman from Texas Ronny Jackson called Omicron the “midterm election variant”, while Fox News hosts accused Democrats of orchestrating the variant to implement their “pro-lockdown, anti-freedom agenda”.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Meyers said. “You think anyone wants this pandemic to keep going? Do you think that’s good for Democrats politically? Everyone is miserable. No one wants this thing to keep going. We all desperately want life to go back to normal.”

Trevor Noah

And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah delved into the US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Monday that while US athletes will compete, US government officials will not attend the event, citing China’s human rights abuses and genocide of the Uighur people.

“Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that Joe Biden would do this,” Noah said. “For one thing, he cares deeply about humans rights. For another, he’s 79 years old. I mean, he’s not about to fly across 12 time zones to watch a bunch of Norwegians sweep an ice rink.”

“That’s the one cool reason to be president!” he added. “Most of us, if we don’t want to do something, we have to come up with some lame excuse. And then everyone else shows up and talks about how we didn’t come. But if you’re president, you can just be like, ‘Diplomatic boycott! No one is allowed to attend Emily’s birthday brunch.’”

Though the boycott is supposed to protest China’s treatment of the Uyghur people, “when you think about it, it’s a little weird to accuse an Olympic host of genocide but then still send all of your athletes to that country,” said Noah. “I mean, it’s genocide. At least pull out the bobsled team. Because now all you’re doing is saying, ‘You know all our boring people? Well we’re not sending them, that’s the punishment.’”

“If Biden really wanted to punish China, he shouldn’t withhold government officials, no; he should send government officials,” Noah concluded. “In fact, he should send the ones nobody can stand. If you want to get back at China, you have Marjorie Taylor Greene in the stands.”

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