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During Monday’s episode, the late-night host surprised viewers by broadcasting an opening, shown prior to the rerun episode, from his bathtub, calling the intro a “very special distancing edition of the Late Show.” Colbert quipped that he could change his show name to The Lather Show, along with a guest musical duo, “Head and Shoulders.”
He addressed the White House press conference during which President Donald Trump announced new 15-day health guidelines, including recommendations that all Americans, including the young and healthy, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
“The government is telling all of us to avoid human contact indefinitely. And on behalf of the socially anxious everywhere, let me just say, way ahead of you! I’ve been avoiding human contact since before it was cool,” Colbert said. He went on to say that this does not mark the first time in history humans have distanced themselves from others. He credited Sir Issac Newton for devising his theory of gravity while in isolation from a plague. He also mentioned William Shakespeare writing King Lear while isolated. “And, of course, his most famous tragedy, Romeo and Pornhub.”
Acknowledging that it’s a “freaky, freaky time,” Colbert told viewers, “If you’re watching this from home right now, know that you’re doing the right thing.”
He pointed out that Trump seemed to have a “dramatically different” tone during Monday’s press conference than during previous ones. Colbert couldn’t help but point out a contradiction in his statement: “Don’t get together in groups of more than 10 people. It’s important information coming from the coronavirus task force, which has 21 members.”
“This is actually a good math lesson for all those kids now being homeschooled. If the coronavirus task force has 21 members but groups aren’t allowed to contain more than 10 people, how many more months are we going to have to be eating Chef Boyaredee?”
About Trump admitting the coronavirus isn’t fully under control, Colbert quipped, “That is as comforting as a parent tucking in their child. Relax, kids, there just aren’t monsters under your beds. There are monsters around all the beds, all around the world, and I don’t have any control.”
“The important thing was, Trump was focused on the future,” Colbert added, before showing a clip in which Trump said we should celebrate when the coronavirus passes. “Yes, we will all celebrate the inauguration of anyone else.”
Later, Colbert explained why Americans could be ahead of the curve in their survival methods for the coronavirus: “We have to ‘don’t’ our part. Turns out Americans weren’t lazy couch potatoes this whole time. All that sitting on our asses and watching TV was actually training to save the world. So, to paraphrase the immortal worlds of John F. Kennedy, ask not what your country can do for you, ask how many episodes of Love Is Blind can you watch in one sitting?”
After initially set to tape episodes without a studio audience, major late-night and daytime talk shows are currently on hiatus amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Nearly 170,000 people worldwide have been affected by the virus, with more than 6,500 deaths and new cases confirmed each day. The death toll in the U.S. climbed to 64 on Monday, while infections passed 3,700.
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