Stephen Colbert returned to the Late Show from a two-week holiday with a questionable mustache and a full slate of bad news to recap. First, last week’s storm damage from Hurricane Ida, which knocked out power in Louisiana and dumped a record 3.15in of rain in a single hour in Central Park. The downpour flooded New York’s subways and delayed flights at Newark airport, whose baggage room was inundated. “So, pretty good day at Newark airport,” joked Colbert.
“You know the climate crisis is bad when the once in a century global pandemic is the second biggest story of the day,” he continued, “and in that regard, things are not good”, as US hospitalizations “have more than doubled since last Labor Day due to the Delta variant.”
“Unfortunately, thanks to fear-mongering and misinformation, a lot of people still aren’t getting vaccinated,” he added. Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and state governments have tossed more than 15m doses of wasted Covid-19 vaccines, “but that does mean 15 million Covid immune dumpster rats,” Colbert joked. “But don’t worry about the anti-vaxxers being unprotected, because they have found a new drug that also does not protect them,” also known as Ivermectin, a horse-dewormer. “So you’ll probably still get Covid, but on the bright side, you could win the Preakness.”
Colbert also touched on the new abortion law in Texas, which bans abortion after six weeks – before most women known they’re pregnant – and went into effect 1 September. “However you feel about abortion, and you do, what the Texas legislature did here is crazy,” he said of the measure the UN called “structural sex and gender-based discrimination at its worst.”
“Normally, a broad ban like that would likely get shot down by the precedent of Roe v Wade, which while a controversial political flashpoint, has the been the settled law of the land for 50 years,” he explained. “So, knowing that, Texas Republicans crafted this law to avoid judicial review entirely. In response to this clear end runaround our judicial system, the supreme court said: ‘I like beer.’”
In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority said they had “serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law”, but refused to block it due to “complex” and “novel” procedural questions. “But isn’t answering complex and novel procedural questions all we pay you knuckleheads to do?” Colbert retorted.
The law encourages civilians to sue any Texan who assists with an abortion after six weeks, promising they can recover legal fees as well as $10,000 if they win. “They’re incentivizing neighbors to turn on each other for cash,” Colbert lamented. “Bad news for fans of privacy rights, but great news for The Handmaid’s Tale, which just got a late Emmy nomination for best documentary.”
“What a weird summer – Britney is free and every woman in Texas isn’t,” said Jimmy Kimmel in his first late-night appearance back from a two-month summer vacation.
Kimmel mocked Americans who took Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus but refused to get the vaccine – “It’s like if you’re a vegan you say, ‘no, I don’t want a hamburger, give me that can of Alpo instead.’”
“One of the reasons these Sea Biscuits are opting for Ivermectin is because they don’t trust big pharma,” he added. “Which is fine, I guess, except for the fact that Ivermectin is made by Merck, which is the fourth largest pharmaceutical company in the world.”
That company released a statement clarifying that there’s “no scientific basis” for use of Ivermectin as a preventative measure against Covid, and a “concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies”.
“Listen, if a pharmaceutical company says ‘please don’t take the drug we’re selling,’ you should probably listen to them,” Kimmel said. “Or, you could just go with a TikTok posted by a disgraced veterinarian instead.”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers recapped Biden’s trip to New York and New Jersey to survey storm damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. “Then he’s going to head to Texas to look into that abortion law, maybe drop by Florida and get some folks to wear masks and if there’s time, maybe head to California and help with that recall mess and then finish up the week in Maine to kill those lobster zombies,” Meyers joked. “Oh, did you not hear? Yeah, every state has something bad.”
In other news, billionaire Mark Cuban recently became an investor in a start-up company creating artificial intelligence versions of NFTs [non-fungible tokens] “that have the ability to converse with people,” said Meyers, “raising the obvious question: what?”
And Amazon’s healthcare business, Amazon Care, is reportedly looking to start offering in-person visits in 20 US cities, Meyers said, “and they’re focusing on the places where people need the most medical help: their own warehouses.”