So, Jon Stewart’s visit this week to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was really, uh, something. Stewart, who is preparing to host his own Apple TV+ current event series, gave the Sean Hannity crowd a reason (besides the toxic-burn-pit issue that’s impacting veterans’ health) to agree with him. 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 told Colbert. “Science has in many ways helped ease the suffering of this pandemic… which was more than likely caused by science.” As one might expect, this segment caused a ruckus, given that the lab-leak theory has been seen as a fringe conspiracy theory, although outlets including Washington Post have pointed towards some element of credibility that’s possible, while New York Times points toward a lack of causative evidence. Stewart, though, kept pushing. “The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab,” he declared. “The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird!”
Whether or not Stewart — who is one of the most gifted satirists to have ever graced TV screens — was serious or joking remains a subject for debate. He sounded like he was being serious, at least at the beginning of his “science” discussion, although there’s plenty of debate out there on the topic. At this point, Stewart has not clarified his stance on the lab-leak theory, nor has he tweeted anything since May 31, when he wrote, “Dasani is the Arby’s of water.” That leaves people to assume that Stewart meant what he said, although it sure seemed spoofy when Stewart stood up and addressed the camera like some dude who’s been hanging out in his basement for decades:
“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.”
While everyone waits for Stewart to say something else, the right-wing is celebrating. That includes, of course, Ted Cruz, who issued a “Hallelujah” and a “Truth. Preach, brother, preach” to a Twitter user who commented that Stewart’s rant would have been blocked by Facebook a month ago, and now it’s on late-night network TV.
Truth. Preach, brother, preach. https://t.co/cyo6a0exXj
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2021
Cruz isn’t the only one celebrating. Ben Shapiro called Stewart’s appearance “magical,” and the debate on whether this was real continued.
I hate it when I agree with Ben Shapiro https://t.co/I9QgF0bi6x
— Shawn Morel (@strangemonad) June 15, 2021
— David Gorski, MD, PhD (@gorskon) June 16, 2021
Remember this the next time we are told an inconvenient voice is a crank.pic.twitter.com/4hCJ2U8Xsi
— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) June 15, 2021
Jon Stewart is right to mock the notion that COVID-19 developed naturally. The evidence has ALWAYS pointed to a lab leak. https://t.co/Md1Qf7ybwe
— Dan O'Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) June 16, 2021
Maybe we’ll hear more from Jon Stewart, or maybe he decided to drop a match and run away until The Problem With Jon Stewart debuts this fall on Apple TV+.