Ah, balls. There’s no target so pendulously tempting for a late-night monologist than a celebrity’s testicular tweet, especially when that tweet not only contains some truly ridiculous (and potentially dangerous) COVID misinformation, but is also held up for serious scrutiny by Fox News prick Tucker Carlson. On Wednesday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert followed up on last evening’s show-opening musical jab at the widely derided claim from singer Nicki Minaj that her absence from this week’s Met Gala was due to a vaccine hesitancy born of some ball-related side effects she claims befell her cousin’s friend in Trinidad.
Posting up a followup tweet from “friend of the show” Minaj that she’s mad-not mad about the joshing from Colbert’s staff, Colbert entreated Minaj to listen to “all of the world’s doctors,” rather than the sort of friend-of-a-friend scuttlebutt third graders traditionally pass around concerning cooties. Colbert noted that he can’t wait to have Minaj back on The Late Show, but that CBS’ network policy won’t allow it as long as Minaj is still taking medical advice from a cross-oceanic game of COVID telephone.
Addressing another network with strict vaccination policies, Colbert went (and here come the puns) balls-deep on Fox News for allowing its loudest and wrongest (and reportedly fully vaccinated) on-air, race-baiting conspiracy klaxon, Tucker Carlson, to hold up Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s alleged balls as horrifically swollen proof that the COVID vaccine is dangerous. In a segment Colbert called “Stephen Colbert’s Ball Gags” (because everyone is actually a third grader when balls are involved), Colbert exposed the unlikely alliance between Carlson and Minaj, mocking Carlson for jumping eagerly on these imaginary testicles in his “desperate” campaign to show that the (actual doctor-approved, life-saving) vaccine isn’t safe, in order to pander to his audience of conspiracy-minded, fearful white people.
Showing a clip of the ever-smirking Carlson putting aside his career-long habit of vilifying all things Black (especially that darned rap music) to solemnly champion Minaj’s third-hand, nut-adjacent anti-vax nonsense, Colbert countered with the actual public health minister of Minaj’s maligned homeland, Trinidad and Tobago. With the (responsibly masked and social distanced) minister Terrence Deyalsingh unsuccessfully stifling incredulous laughter as he dutifully reported on his agency having to waste time and resources debunking Minaj’s claim that that island nation is aswarm with dangerously bloated balls, Colbert showed how Carlson wasn’t buying it, with the Fox newshound making a direct appeal to Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend to give him a jingle.
As Colbert noted, it was the bravest move in investigative journalism since “Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam to interview Jimi Hendrix’s cousin’s friend, who claimed the polio vaccine gave him a micro-taint.” Following up with his own appeal—this time to the actual alleged balls, since Colbert assumed they were huge enough to have gained sentience by this point—the host entreated the phantom glands to get in touch. “I just want to hang,” assured third-grader Colbert, but he drew the line at (cue photo of Tucker Carlson, looking like he’s about to say something incredibly racist) “interviewing a talking dick.”