- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Jon Stewart appears to be on “Team Rand Paul” when it comes to the origins of COVID-19.

The comedian left friend Stephen Colbert at a loss for words Monday evening when he roasted those who deny the possibility that the Wuhan Virology Institute may be the biological ground zero for the deadly pandemic instead of soups found at local wet markets.

“What do you mean?” Mr. Colbert asked his guest on CBS’ “The Late Show.” “Do you mean perhaps there’s a chance that this was created in a lab in Wuhan? There’s an investigation. If there’s evidence, I’d like to hear.”

“A chance?! Oh, my God,” Mr. Stewart replied incredulously. “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, don’t you think?  And then they ask the scientists, like, ‘How did this — so, wait a minute. You work at the Wuhan Respiratory Coronvirus Lab. How did this happen?’ And they’re like, ‘A pangolin kissed a turtle? Hurrrm. … Maybe a bat flew into the cloaca of a turkey and then it sneezed into my chili — and now we all have coronavirus.’ Come on!” 

Mr. Colbert offered a cautious approach and encouraged patience while authorities investigate.

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God,” Mr. Stewart continued. “There’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do ya think happened? ‘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!”

The comedian’s skepticism echoes that of Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, has particularly focused on “super viruses” engineered in Wuhan‘s lab and U.S. researchers who funneled taxpayer money into its research.

“Dr. [Anthony] Fauci dissembled or tried to hide his long-time support for ‘gain-of-function’ research which creates super-viruses that jump from animals to humans,’ Mr. Paul tweeted on May 11. “[Eleven] labs in the U.S. create these super-viruses in the U.S. and one of them collaborated with Wuhan Virology Inst — Fauci has supported NIH funds for all these labs!”

Again, Mr. Stewart‘s commentary offered similar conclusions.

“Science is incredible, but they don’t know when to stop,” the former Comedy Central host said. “Nobody in the room with those cats ever goes, ‘You know, I don’t know if we should do that.’” 

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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