Following the recent announcement that the show would begin taping episodes without an in-studio audience to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, Late Show host Stephen Colbert went one step further on Monday by avoiding the New York City-based studio altogether.
Starting March 16, Colbert decided to bring the late-night show home with him.
After first stressing the importance of social isolation amid the health crisis, Colbert — who was dressed in a suit — later took aim at U.S. President Donald Trump, criticizing him for his efforts to keep COVID-19 under control in America.
“Trump thinks the White House is doing just a great job,” the TV host said of the Republican president’s COVID-19 briefing at the White House on Monday morning.
The show then cut to a clip of Trump, 73, stumbling over some of his words during the public briefing.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of… the way they’re working together. They’re working hand-in-hand,” said the president.
“Yes,” said Colbert, waist-deep in his bubble-filled bathtub, “to control the spread of this virus, they are working hand-in-hand, tongue-in-mouth, sneeze-in-face.”
“As recently as yesterday, Trump was saying he had this virus under control. Today…” said the host, prompting another clip from Trump’s speech.
In the snippet, a reporter asks the president: “You’re not saying it’s under control, right?”
“If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for any place in the world,” he replies.
Colbert joked: “That is as comforting as a parent tucking in their child , ‘Relax, kids, there aren’t just monsters under your beds, there are monsters under all the beds all around the world and I don’t have any of it under control. Good night!
“Trump was adamant that he was doing the best he can with the hand he was dealt,” added the Emmy Award-winner, before playing another clip.
“When we have a future problem, if and when — and hopefully we don’t have anything like this, but, if there is — we’re gonna be starting off on a much higher plateau,” Trump said.
“We were at a very low base ,” he added. “We had a system that was not meant for this.”
Colbert’s response: “Yeah, some idiot disbanded Obama’s pandemic response team.”
“We should really look into whoever was after President Obama,” he quipped. “‘Cause that guy screwed the pooch… which, by the way, is another way the virus can spread.
“The important thing is, Trump was focused on the future.”
He then showed another clip from Trump’s speech: “If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and… we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”
“Yes, it’s true,” remarked Colbert. “We will all celebrate… the inauguration of anyone else.”
Colbert also commended his viewers who chose to watch The Late Show from their homes, adding that even his staff are now working from home to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 spread.
“The big story tonight is all of you people,” said Colbert. “People all over America have hunkered down in their own houses to ride out the coronavirus. The CDC is saying that this might go on for the next eight weeks, so get comfortable,” he added.
“It is a freaky, freaky time, I’ll give you that. I’m sure a lot of you are worried, but if you’re watching this from home right now, know that you’re doing the right thing.”
Though Colbert showed his audience that he was helping to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread, he joked he “definitely will not be flattening curves” after “stress-baking” a large pear and almond-cream tart.
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