Colbert Mocks Energy Department Saying Chinese Lab Leak Likely Started COVID

Late-night host Stephen Colbert mocked the claim from the Department of Energy that a lab leak in China was likely responsible for the origin of the COVID pandemic.

The Department of Energy joined the FBI, which had stated with moderate confidence that COVID started accidentally from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“The Department of Energy released a new report saying a lab leak is the most likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Colbert noted. “Well, there it is. Chinese wet markets, you’re off the hook. Let’s order a round of pangolin poppers for the table. I love a nice plate of wet apps.”

“Now, if like me, you’re wondering why the Department of Energy is the one making this judgment, it’s because that agency “oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research,” Colbert said, quoting The Wall Street Journal, neglecting to add that the Journal prefaced that comment by writing that the Department “has considerable scientific expertise.”

“No! No! Bad Energy Department. No bio-labs until you finish building your electric car-charging stations. Stay in your lane,” Colbert snapped.

Colbert noted that four other federal agencies concluded that the pandemic was likely the result of natural transmission, then carped, “We’ll have more on this story as soon as anyone has anything they can prove.”

Steve Colbert (@StephenAtHome) attacks the Dept. of Energy for its investigation finding Covid likely came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology: “Stay in your lane”

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 28, 2023

In September 2021, Colbert tried to shoot down Jon Stewart’s suggestion that the virus originated in Wuhan.

“Do you mean perhaps there’s a chance that this was created in a lab? There’s an investigation — “ Colbert asked.

“A chance?” Stewart mocked. “Oh my God.”

“If there’s evidence I’d love to hear,” Colbert told him.


“There’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do?” Stewart fired back. “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 the actual scientists are like, ‘How did this?’ So wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan Respiratory Coronavirus Lab. How did this happen? And they’re like, ‘A pangolin kissed a turtle?’”

“Oh, my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?” Stewart continued. “Like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean?’ Or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory!”

“It could be possible, you could be right,” Colbert said, before trying to rebut Stewart by saying, “It could be possible they have the lab in Wuhan to study the novel coronavirus diseases because in Wuhan there are a lot of novel coronavirus diseases because of the bat population.”

“I understand, it’s the local specialty,” Stewart replied. “And it’s the only place to find bats. You won’t find bats anywhere else. Oh, wait. Austin, Texas has thousands of ‘em that fly out of a cave every night. Every night at dusk. Is there a coronavirus, an Austin coronavirus?”

“And how long have you worked for Senator Ron Johnson,” Colbert tried lamely, referring to Johnson’s attempts to obtain information about a possible connection between the Wuhan lab and the coronavirus.

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