Stephen Colbert kicked off his final show without a live studio audience — sidebar, it’s been 14 months since the pandemic started — with a really fun gag parodying one of the only truly perfect songs every recorded, Mark Morrison’s 1996 classic “Return of the Mack.”
The bit was inspired by recent reports that as COVID-19 safety precautions are slowly drawn down, including mask wearing, we may see a surge in cold and flu infections later this year. (Flu cases hit historic lows in 2020 almost certainly thanks to the fact that most of us were wearing masks and distancing.)
So the cold open gag of Thursday’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” began with a rehash of some TV news footage explaining that. Then came the parody, in which a common cold virus sings about returning after COVID.
But while Morrison’s immortal song is about a jilted lover coming doing the “Living well – and then throwing it in your ex’s face – is the best revenge” thing, the Colbert version is all about how the common cold thinks maybe he’ll be getting back together with his ex. Of course, the cold got dumped too, thrown over for someone named COVID-19. But now that the vaccine is out, “I’ll make her sneeze/just like how her and I used to be.” Etc etc.
Anyway we’ll ruin the joke by explaining it further, so you can listen to the track instead. Watch it here below:
And of course, since it’s on your mind we’ll save you a click. Watch Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” video here too:
Colbert returns to a full studio audience on Monday.