Late-Night Hosts Take on Trump's Coronavirus "Hoax" Comment

Stephen Colbert on The Late Show CBS, Seth Meyers on Late Night NBC and Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live - Publicity stills - Split - H 2019
Courtesy of Networks

"You didn't move quickly," Seth Meyers said of the president's response to the outbreak. "For one thing, you never move quickly. You lumber around the White House lawn in circles like an only child on an Easter egg hunt by himself."

Late-night hosts took on coronavirus headlines from the past weekend, including President Donald Trump's response to the outbreak, during Monday's episodes of their shows.

Trump previously dismissed the severity of the virus on Thursday and said that it is "like a miracle that will disappear." During a rally on Friday, the president said that Democrats are "politicizing" the virus and called their criticism of his administration's response to the outbreak a "hoax."

NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers dedicated a "Closer Look" segment to Trump's response to the outbreak.

While speaking about the virus on Thursday, the president said that he spoke to experts about the outbreak and "nobody really knows" how serious the disease is. "I doubt you've spoken to all the greatest experts," responded Meyers. "I can't even begin to imagine a conversation between a scientist and Donald Trump. It would be like watching Bill Gates explain the internet to a dog."

Meyers called out Trump for not spending his time working to create a plan to protect Americans from the disease. The host then responded to Trump's "hoax" comment. "A hoax? I think part of the problem here is that Trump only knows, like, five words and 'hoax' is one of them," he said. "His brain is like a Mad Lib with the same word written in for every sentence."

Meyers pointed out that the president spoke about the virus during his recent press conference and that he "lied about the speed of his government's response." Clips followed of Trump discussing how his quick reaction to address the virus slowed down the spread of the disease in the U.S.

"You didn't move quickly," said Meyers. "For one thing, you never move quickly. You lumber around the White House lawn in circles like an only child on an Easter egg hunt by himself."

The host added that there's new evidence that the virus may have been spreading for weeks and that the problem worsened because there hasn't been widespread national testing.

Meyers then shared a montage of clips that showed Trump stating that the virus would go away in April. "Where did you get this idea that it goes away in April?" he asked. "Are you confusing it with Lent?"

Stephen Colbert also addressed the coronavirus on CBS' The Late Show.

The host joked that the outbreak has put an end to his "beloved" international travel segment, "Stephen Colbert: Nose Licker," deadpanning that his team was "going to go to Italy next."

Colbert also related that Florida declared a public health emergency following two newly diagnosed cases in the U.S. "Health officials want to caution anyone living in Florida that they are living in Florida," he said. 

"Sadly over at Disney World, tough news for the seven dwarves," the host quipped. "Doc had to put Sneezy down."

A state of emergency has been declared in Washington, while thousands are suspected to be infected and there have been multiple fatalities, Colbert said. "Experts believe that the virus may have spread undetected there for weeks after performing a genetic analysis," he said. "Genetic analysis is also how they found out the coronavirus is 14 percent French-Canadian on its mom's side."

Colbert next played the clip of President Trump calling the coronavirus the Democrats' new hoax. "It's not a hoax. It's a crisis. But Trump's more concerned with covering his ass than protecting the American people, which explains his new emergency broadcast message, 'Beeep. This is only a hoax. If this was a real emergency, I would call it a hoax,'" the host said while impersonating Trump.

In response to a woman in New York City contracting the virus, businesses are taking precautions to try to stay open during a possible outbreak. Colbert shared that one bar owner wrote a letter to the mayor asking if the city can offer licenses for takeout cocktails. "You know the old saying. 'Feed a cold, margarita a fever,'" said the host.

The Late Show also shared a mock ad from Everclear that offered a solution for stores running out of hand sanitizer.

In the ad, an actor playing Bill Everclear explained that his grandfather distilled his first batch of 190 proof grain alcohol nearly 100 years ago. "He never intended it to have any positive benefit to society," he said, while adding that the alcohol was used to haze college students and make Molotov cocktails.

"Thanks to the coronavirus, the dark cloud has been lifted off my family name," he continued. "Because with the shortage of hand sanitizer, you can now reach for Everclear. That's right. It's 190 proof, so it's super-effective against germs and consciousness."

Over on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Trevor Noah discussed the coronavirus during his ongoing segment, "Is This How We Die?"

The host explained that the people in France have been told not to kiss each other hello due to the virus. "That's such an ingrained part of their culture," he said. "It's like telling New Yorkers not to jack off on the subway. That's how we say hello."

"Greeting people with physical contact is not a good idea right now, and black people are the only people who are really prepared for this," Noah added. "Everyone else is like shaking hands, but black people have many different ways to greet each other, you know? We've got the distant head nod, you know? It's like that whole thing. You know, you just, 'You look sick. Stay over there.'"

Clips of news coverage explained South Korea's in-depth testing process for the disease. "They've got drive-through testing?" said Noah. "They have screened more than 100,000 people for coronavirus, which is impressive and probably the first time people going through a drive-through are getting healthier."

Noah then asserted that the U.S. needs to come up with a system to help fight the spread of the virus and shared that it could have been in the country for weeks without being detected.

Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. later joined the host to discuss the virus. After Noah admitted he was panicked about the disease, Wood told him to calm down. He added that the most important thing to remember is to wash your hands "for at least the length of one verse of a Cardi B song."

Wood also said that viewers shouldn't touch their faces and that they should stay at home if they feel sick, though he began to cough during his second note. "Did you just corona-cough in my face?" asked Noah.

The correspondent continued to fight back his coughing while suggesting that viewers check on their elderly neighbors.

The segment concluded with Noah directing anti-bacterial spray at Wood as he shouted, "Corona!"

On ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host thanked his audience for "risking the coronavirus" to attend the taping.

Kimmel and his sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez then showed off their new handshakes that will help prevent the spread of the virus. Named the "Patella Hello," the first handshake included the two men nodding at each other and then bumping their knees. The duo also demonstrated the "Hello-Bow," which had them bump their elbows together.

Over on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the host informed his audience about the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in New York.

"You can tell New Yorkers are real worried because the price of Hamilton tickets dropped to just $9,000," he joked.

Fallon noted that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been reminding people to wash their hands for 20 seconds, which is how long it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

"Apparently measuring the time in popular songs is working because today I saw this new commercial from the CDC," he said before introducing the fake ad.

The ad was promoting a CD with a number of 20-second songs to listen to while washing your hands. Some of the songs that made it on to the playlist include "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "the guitar part in 'Sweet Child O' Mine' before Axl Rose starts singing" and "DJ Khaled saying 'Another one' 20 times."