Sunday Parody — Comedian Jon Stewart on the Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory

“I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science. Science has in many ways helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science.”

Comedian Jon Stewart (June 14 2021)

June 20 2021 — On Monday, comedian Jon Stewart hilariously promoted the theory that the coronavirus was created and leaked from the Wuhan lab in China on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“Can I say this about scientists? I love them and they do such good work but they are going to kill us all.”Jon Stewart

Stewart explained to a visibly surprised Colbert the reasoning behind his apparent conclusion with a series of trademark comedic analogies.

About the natural origin

“The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think? And then you have some scientists who are like, ‘So wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan Respiratory Coronavirus Lab. How did this happen?’ And they’re like, ‘Mmmm, a pangolin kissed a turtle?’

Doing a “Chomsky” comparison…

“Oh my god, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened? Like, oh, I don’t know. Maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean—or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory! Maybe that’s it!”

Just a ‘freaky coincidence’?

“It could be possible that they have the lab in Wuhan to study the coronavirus diseases because in Wuhan there are a lot of novel coronavirus diseases because of the bat population there,” Colbert said.

“Sure… I understand,” Stewart said, taking on a more sarcastic tone. “It’s the local specialty, and it’s the only place to find bats. You won’t find bats anywhere else. Oh wait, Austin, Texas, has thousands of them that fly out of a cave every night at dusk? Is there … an Austin coronavirus? No, there doesn’t seem to be an Austin coronavirus. The only coronavirus we have is in Wuhan.”

About science & scientists

“This is not a conspiracy! But this is the problem with science. Science is incredible, but they don’t know when to stop and no one in the room with those cats ever goes, ‘I don’t know if we should do that.’ They’re like, ‘curiosity killed the cat, so let’s kill 10,000 cats to find out why.'”

Deadly serious

Following a commercial break, Stewart told Colbert:

“Can I say this about scientists? I love them and they do such good work but they are going to kill us all.”

“One of the reasons Jon Stewart was so talented is that he spoke truth to power no matter who was in office and was beholden to no party,” McCain wrote. “This is how political comedy is done right. No one else on tv does this anymore. No one.”

Meghan McCain — News columnist and daughter of the late Republican Sen. John McCain

The Washington Post

Having noticed that segment seems like a potential inflection point in the debate over the coronavirus’s origins, The Washington Post felt the need to post two pieces about the show.

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman wrote in a piece Tuesday morning that Stewart’s opinion offers another reason why Americans should take comedians’ scientific opinions with a grain of salt, arguing that a person might be too encouraged when a celebrity agrees with one of their beliefs. [The Hill]

“But they’re not experts, and the reason we listen to experts is that they know more than we do,” Waldman wrote.

In an analysis, Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake also notes that Stewart’s opinion may be an oversimplification of facts, and the lab in Wuhan specializes in coronaviruses because China has a history of these viruses and virology labs tend to specialize in the viruses around them.

Nevertheless, Blake admitted that Stewart may have done the right thing…

Stewart responded that it wasn’t a conspiracy theory. And he’s right to the extent you regard “conspiracy theory” as something that is implausible.

(I would still argue it applies to a situation in which the Chinese government would have spent a year and a half covering this up.)

It was just perhaps an oversimplification — the same kind of oversimplification for which the kinds of people promoting Stewart’s segment once pilloried him.

That said, it will very likely push that seeming coincidence even more into the debate over the lab leak, which might ultimately be a healthy thing.

Think about that…

So here we are… Believe what you want. But once again, a fact is indisputable.

When it comes to debating the origin of the pandemic, most people trust a comedian better than scientists, journalists, intelligence officials and politicians.

Perhaps the comedian is not the one to be blamed for this hilarious joke?

“His Sauron’s eye for absurdity locked on its target and stated what is so painfully obvious to anyone willing to think outside partisan team-playing.”

Why Jon Stewart’s Lab-Leak Moment Matters

Jon Stewart came along and brought comedy deeper into the political space, essentially merging the two, and did so from a liberal perspective during the height of the Bush-whacking years. Yet he was, and remains, a free thinker — an undeniably adroit one — who could agitate his own side, and both sides, when he deemed fit.

He was, in a sense, a transitional figure, bridging an era of political humor that used the former in service of the latter, and a modern era that flips the formula — so that the jokes, often stale and predictable, serve the cause.

So when mentor Jon Stewart joined protégé Stephen Colbert earlier this week and took it upon himself to savage the Chinese government and attempt to convert anyone still denying the plausibility of the COVID lab-leak theory, whether out of stubborn loyalty to one side’s narrative or for some other reason, it was a bellow from that era not quite bygone. It was an effective one. His Sauron’s eye for absurdity locked on its target and stated what is so painfully obvious to anyone willing to think outside partisan team-playing. (…)

More broadly, the Daily Show ex-host’s bit — flecked with his trademark flourishes of darting around the set, speaking directly to the camera, grimacing, going nasally, cracking up at his counterpart’s occasional riposte to restore levity — is a reminder that it’s okay, once in a while, to perceive that one’s political others are not all cretinous mouth-breathers; to weigh competing ideas before assuming the right one; and to say, “Wait a minute, the other side’s got a point.” [National Review]

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

German–American poet Charles Bukowski

Jon Stewart On Vaccine Science And The Wuhan Lab Theory

REFERENCES

Jon Stewart goes all-in on the lab leak theory — Washington Post

Jon Stewart Says Wuhan Lab Leak ‘Not a Conspiracy’ on Stephen Colbert — Newsweek

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Sunday Parody — Comedian Jon Stewart on the Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory

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