On Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert decried warnings from health experts that the US could face a fifth wave of the coronavirus. “No! No more waves, science. I was promised a normal holiday season,” the host said. “The family dinners on Thanksgiving, the carolers on Christmas, the fights on Black Friday, as God intended.
“That’s how god destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – he told everyone in Gomorrah there were half-off TVs at the Sodom Best Buy,” he added.
A fifth wave would not sweep the country equally, as the hardest-hit areas also have the lowest vaccination rates. “Well, yeah – at this point, staying unvaccinated is like wearing a Yankees hat to a Red Sox game,” Colbert observed. “You’re probably going to end up in a hospital and it’s your own damn fault.”
In a crossover of pandemic/environmental despair news, the National Academy of Sciences journal published a study that found the world created about 8m tons of plastic pandemic waste, much of which is now in the ocean. “That is shocking and that is wrong,” said Colbert. “In New York, we don’t throw our trash in the ocean! We put it where it belongs: piled on the sidewalk, where it stays forever, slowly turning into a rat palace.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers blasted Republicans and Fox News pundits for misleading Americans on the state of the economy. “These people are willing to lie so brazenly and shamelessly about anything,” he said.
“There’s no doubt that there are serious issues, between inflation and the supply chain crisis, but last night Fox host Laura Ingraham tried to compare the economic records of Trump and Biden in the most deceptive way possible” with a graphic that blamed Biden for the fact that 3 million fewer Americans were working in October 2021 compared with when Trump was president in December 2019.
“Huh, I can’t remember, did anything major happen between those two numbers?” Meyers deadpanned. “I’m sorry if I was a little foggy, I was trapped in an attic for a few months wiping down doorknobs with Lysol and hoarding the last scraps of toilet paper I could buy off the black market while slowly descending into a madness so fully encompassing that for long stretches of time, I could only hear my own thoughts in the voice of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
“Not only are Republicans and Fox News lying about the economy,” he continued, “they’re also so fundamentally opposed to addressing those issues or even having a functioning government that they’re now threatening to purge any members from their ranks who voted for Biden’s infrastructure bill.” Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, called the 13 representatives who voted for the bill “traitors”, while the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said they should be stripped of their committee assignments.
“That’s where we’re at now,” said Meyers. “Keeping roads and bridges from falling apart is considered giving Democrats a win, instead of something good for the country.”
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah asked a question on many people’s minds: when is the pandemic finally going to be over?
“It is looking more and more likely that Covid may stay with us forever, like that uncle who said he was ‘just passing through town’ and then 20 years later still has your room,” he answered.
Luckily, “America has more than enough vaccines for every man, woman and child who doesn’t listen to Joe Rogan” – so many doses that the US has announced plans to deliver doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to people living in conflict zones such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Yemen.
“America is sending the Johnson & Johnson vaccine into conflict zones? Hasn’t Yemen been through enough?” Noah joked. “I mean, it’s bad enough that poor countries get T-shirts from the losing Super Bowl team, but now they have to get the third-place vaccine?
“I know there are a lot of reasons why it’s better to send J&J to conflict zones than Moderna or Pfizer – it’s easier to transport, and you don’t need to depend on people being able to come back for a second shot,” he added. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some American officials who were like, ‘well we’re not gonna waste the good vaccines on someone who’s just going to step on a landmine tomorrow, right fellas?’”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel checked in on one of the most distinctive faces of the 6 January Capitol attack, the so-called “QAnon Shaman”, Jake Angeli. Earlier this week, prosecutors recommended 51 months in prison for Angeli, “after which he will be remanded into the custody of Dancing with the Stars”, Kimmel joked. “Weird to think the QAnon Shaman could get four years in prison while the guy who encouraged him to do it could get four more years in the White House.
“And also, can we stop calling him a shaman now?” he added. “I mean, that would make half the fans at the Buffalo Bills game shamans, too.”
Kimmel counted more “incarcer-rections” – a former MMA fighter who punched a Capitol police officer got a 41-month sentence, for example. “It’s rare that a headline that starts with ‘ex-MMA fighter’ ends on a positive note,” Kimmel noted. “It’s never ‘ex-MMA fighter finds happiness running a daycare for underprivileged kids. It’s always like ‘ex-MMA fighter puts his mom in coma,’ or something.”