Stephen Colbert discussed good and bad news regarding the pandemic on Thursday’s Late Show. Covid cases have risen in all 50 states over the past week, as a highly transmissible variant spreads and vaccination rates drop off. On the plus side, scientists agree that the vaccine is up to the challenge of handling evolving variants. “You hear that, pandemic? We can take whatever new stuff you throw at us!” said Colbert. “Do you have any idea how many new flavors of Oreos we’ve endured?”
“The only thing spreading faster than Covid variants is Covid misinformation, especially on social media,” he continued. In response, Facebook has begun tracking and removing groups that present misleading or sensationalized information about vaccines. But they’ve run into issues as anti-vax groups have changed their names to euphemisms like “dance party” in order to skirt detection. “So get ready for new dance crazes like “actual Saturday Night Fever, the Harlem Ache and The Floss of Taste and Smell,” Colbert joked.
Anti-vax groups have posted in codes such as “danced” and “drank beer” to refer to “vaccinated”; Pfizer is “pizza”, Moderna is “Moana”. “Dancing, beer, pizza, Moana – if you’re going to describe something you think is killing everybody, maybe don’t use codewords that are things that everybody universally loves,” Colbert said.
“Of course, the pandemic has exacerbated our pre-existing condition of extremely rich people,” he added, citing a Bloomberg report on super-yacht charters, which are up over 340%. “This is disgusting. At a time of dire need, the ultra-rich shouldn’t be blowing their money on boats. That’s money that could be used to launch giant penises into space,” Colbert joked, referring to Jeff Bezos’s phallic-shaped rocket, which traveled to space earlier this week.
“There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s easy to look around at the state of things and get a slightly apocalyptic vibe,” said Seth Meyers on Late Night. “Covid cases have nearly tripled in two weeks thanks to a highly contagious new variant, billionaires are jetting off to space as US life expectancy saw its biggest drop since world war two, and thanks to intense wildfires on the west coast, smoke blanketed parts of the country as far east as New York.
“On a good day, breathing the air in New York City is like smoking Marlboro Reds in a railroad cattle car,” he mused. “You know how bad it has to be to notice the air quality in New York? That’s like noticing a ketchup stain on a red couch.
“Probably due in part to the post-apocalyptic scenes of mass animal extinctions, deadly heatwaves, flooded subway stations in New York City, smoke blanketing the sky and turning the sun blood-red, and rings of fire in the Gulf of Mexico, Americans now list climate change as their second-highest priority,” Meyers added. “But if you’re worried about it, good news! Fox News host Jesse Watters has a solution: just live with it.”
Earlier this week, Watters instructed his viewers: “If you want to stop climate change, you don’t fight climate change. If it’s getting warmer, you adapt to it.”
“Yeah, just adapt to it!” Meyers deadpanned. “Who needs a cab when you can Uber a dolphin? Of course, the problem with Uber dolphins is they can’t take a hint when you don’t want to talk.”