Jon Stewart Has Addressed The ‘Pushback’ After He Appeared To Go All-In On The ‘Lab Leak’ Theory To A Skeptical Stephen Colbert

Jon Stewart’s preparing for the Sept. 30 launch of his every-other-week Apple TV+ show, and this means that he’s doing the interview rounds, including a talk with The Hollywood Reporter about various things like why he left The Daily Show. This was a wide-ranging interview that also touched upon the ruckus that spawned from Stewart’s June visit to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which was really, uh, something. That is to say, Stewart appeared to go all-in on the controversial “lab leak” theory (while noting that COVID may have originated in a Wuhan lab and somehow escaped) as Colbert maintained a skeptical stance.

“I believe we owe a great debt of gratitude to science,” Stewart previously told Colbert. “Science has in many ways helped ease the suffering of this pandemic… which was more than likely caused by science.” Stewart then, almost spookily, while noting, “The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab,” he declared. “The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird!” Of course, the fallout was notable, and no one really knew whether or not Stewart — who is one of the most gifted satirists to have ever graced TV screens — was serious or joking, especially when he stood up and addressed the camera like some dude who sleeps with a tin-foil blanket:

“I have been alone so long. And when I realized that the laboratory was having the same name — first name and last name — of the evil that had been plaguing us, I thought to myself… that’s f*cked up.”

Many waited to see if Stewart would clarify his stance, and that happened during the THR interview in response to a comment about whether Colbert was nervous about his remarks. Stewart noted that he was “a little surprised” at the response to his monologue:

“I don’t think he was nervous. It’s not like he doesn’t know what I’m going to say. Listen, how it got to be that if it was a scientific accident, it’s conservative, and if it came from a wet market, it’s liberal, I don’t know — I’m just not sure how that got politicized. But it was an inelegant way to get to a bit that I’ve done for years, which is our good-intentioned brilliance will more than likely be our demise. The bit is about the last words that man ever utters, which are, ‘Hey, it worked.’ I guess I was a little surprised at the pushback.

Naturally, yes, there was pushback, but I guess this is confirmation that Stewart wasn’t intentionally dropping a match and running away from the fire. Yet the lab-leak theory has been viewed as a fringe conspiracy theory, even as outlets including Washington Post have noted some element of credibility (while the New York Times pointed toward a lack of causative evidence). In response to Stewart’s monologue, right-wingers like Ted Cruz and Ben Shapiro celebrated, so, yep, there’s gonna be pushback when those guys get happy.

Apple TV+’s The Problem With Jon Stewart debuts on September 30.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)