Comedian Jon Stewart seemed to endorse the theory that the novel coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night.
“I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science,” Stewart said. “Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science.”
Colbert asked, “Do you mean perhaps there’s a chance that this was created in a lab?”
“A chance?” Stewart said. “Oh my god, there’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird!”
Stewart then joked that when scientists were asked about the theory, the response was “maybe a bat flew into the cloaca of a turkey and then it sneezed into my chili and now we all have coronavirus?”
“What about this,” Stewart went on. “There’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania, what do you think happened? I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel made it with a cocoa bean. Or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory!”
Colbert pushed back on the claim, asking Stewart “how long have you worked for Senator Ron Johnson?”
After the show returned from a commercial break, Stewart continued to discuss science in the context of the pandemic.
“Can I say this about science?” he asked.
“You can say anything you [want], some of my best friends are scientists,” Colbert said.
“And I love them, and they do such good work, but they are going to kill us all,” Stewart responded.
The theory that coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan has received renewed scrutiny over the past several weeks, and President Biden has ordered the U.S. intelligence community to assess the theory within the next 90 days.
Speculation has centered around the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-security laboratory designed to study dangerous viruses. The city is also home to the Wuhan Centers for Disease Control, which is located several hundred yards from the wet market where Chinese authorities initially identified the outbreak.