A man who once featured dancing syringes on his show to encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccines has seemingly gotten the virus for the second time in three weeks.
Stephen Colbert — host of CBS’ “The Late Show” and a man who, at age 58, still looks and acts like the villain in a young adult novel set at a prestigious boarding school — announced earlier this week that he was down with the virus yet again.
This was in spite of the fact he praised vaccine and booster efficacy after a bout of COVID-19 in late April.
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Just so we’re clear on Colbert’s coronavirus timeline, let’s back up to April 21, when his official show Twitter account announced he had the bug.
“Stephen Colbert has tested positive for Covid 19. Tonight’s show is cancelled,” they tweeted. “As previously planned, the show will be airing repeats tomorrow through next week. We will return with new episodes on May 2nd.”
Stephen Colbert has tested positive for Covid 19. Tonight’s show is cancelled. As previously planned, the show will be airing repeats tomorrow through next week. We will return with new episodes on May 2nd.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) April 21, 2022
The Brinker Hadley of late-night TV confirmed the diagnosis via his personal account.
“Yep! I tested positive for Covid, but basically I’m feeling fine- grateful to be vaxxed and boosted,” Colbert tweeted.
“Thank you for the well wishes. This just proves that I will do anything to avoid interviewing Jason Bateman.”
Yep! I tested positive for Covid, but basically I’m feeling fine- grateful to be vaxxed and boosted. Thank you for the well wishes. This just proves that I will do anything to avoid interviewing Jason Bateman. https://t.co/Vf5Ws5WVcE
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) April 21, 2022
Alas, he didn’t catch Bateman before the “Ozark” finale. More’s the pity.
Colbert returned to work as scheduled but then, yet again, things went awry — and got a bit murky, as well.
On Monday, the official account of “The Late Show” announced that “Stephen is experiencing symptoms consistent with a recurrence of COVID.
“Out of an abundance of caution for his staff, guests, and audience, he will be isolating for a few additional days. The Late Show will not be taping new episodes until further notice,” the tweet continued.
Stephen is experiencing symptoms consistent with a recurrence of COVID. Out of an abundance of caution for his staff, guests, and audience, he will be isolating for a few additional days. The Late Show will not be taping new episodes until further notice.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) May 9, 2022
Of course, “symptoms consistent with a recurrence of COVID” isn’t necessarily COVID. However, Colbert himself seemed to confirm it was the novel coronavirus with a tweet that read “WORST. SEQUEL. EVER.”
WORST. SEQUEL. EVER. https://t.co/a0rfw32xTH
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) May 9, 2022
Again, unclear whether or not Colbert contracted the virus again. However, the Los Angeles Times noted this came after “The Late Show” bandleader Jon Batiste announced he’d contracted COVID.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that reinfections — meaning a person was infected, recovered and then later became infected again — can occur, although most individuals will have some protection from repeat infections,” the Times reported.
It’s not just that Colbert had tweeted how he was “grateful to be vaxxed and boosted” after he got the virus, however, that makes this whole thing ironic. It’s that, during the OMG-get-your-Fauci-ouchie-now-red-state-scum stage of liberal vaccine boosterism, he was the guy who thought this kind of thing would win over the inoculation-hesitant:
Stephen Colbert, winning hearts and minds of the vaccine hesitant pic.twitter.com/fa98vRrcRj
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 29, 2021
And this kind of thing, too:
And there was a lot of “that kind of thing,” as you can see if you can stand to watch the whole video.
Since Monday’s tweets, both “The Late Show” and Colbert himself have maintained radio silence on whether this is a recurrence of COVID or just another type of illness. Since the announcement, Colbert has only made two tweets, one a bad joke about cryptocurrencies and another a bad joke about astronomy:
Fortune* Favours** the Brave***
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) May 12, 2022
“Okay, now let’s do a silly one.” pic.twitter.com/abQ58hkEcM
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) May 13, 2022
However, it’s worth noting silence speaks volumes when it comes from people who have a reason to be silent, and that this wouldn’t be the “WORST. SEQUEL. EVER” if it were from a different viral franchise.
Moreover, it comes from a man whose show has produced some of the most cringe-worthy pro-vaccine propaganda we’ve seen on TV, which actually takes talent.
Remember, this is a man who played horsey at his late-night desk as a cartoon overlay played featuring six anthropomorphic cowboy needles riding six equipomorphic needles sang, to the tune of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”: “Get a shot, get a shot, get a vaccine shot / Get a shot, get a shot, get a vaccine shot / Get a shot shot shot / Get your vaccine vaccine vaccine vaccine shot shot shot / Pfizer! Moderna! Johnson & Johnson!”
That’s real. That actually happened; it’s not a parody video. That’s how Colbert and his crew thought the host could convince the not-at-risk or vaccine-hesitant to get a shot. And now, we’re told he may have the virus for the second time in three weeks.
We wish Mr. Colbert a speedy recovery, whatever the source of his illness is. And, while we’re at it, we thank him for the irony. We can only hope and wish the cartoon needles make a reappearance when he gets back to his desk, again singing along to Rossini: “It still works / It still works / It works works works works / Just imagine how bad it would have been / Just imagine how bad it would have been / Just imagine how bad it would have been / Without the shot shot shot.”
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