On Thursday’s “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert drew inspiration from a recent report about COVID-19 transmission between humans and animals to reimagine the classic Christmas special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as a cautionary tale.
According to a recent study out of Iowa, there is evidence that deer in the state may be catching COVID-19 from human beings. Yikes for the deer, to be sure. (And yikes for humans if this causes another variant surge.) It’s not entirely clear if this is actually the case — the study in question has not yet been peer-reviewed. Nevertheless, it inspired a pretty good “The Late Show” cold open gag.
The gag redubs the dialogue from the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated classic during the scene where Santa comes in to ask Rudolph, “Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” But this time, Rudolph wants none of it.
“Back off, fat man, or you’ll give us all COVID,” Rudolph says.
“I’m immunized,” Santa replies. “I went with Aaron Rodgers.” (That, of course, is a reference to the pro football player who lied about getting vaccinated in order to keep playing, only to catch COVID.)
“He’s lying,” all of Santa’s elves shout.
“Fine, I’m not vaccinated. I don’t want my jingle balls to swell up like Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend,” Santa said. “Besides, COVID is a myth, like the abominable snowman.”
This prompts a surprised “what an idiot” from the abominable snowman, who is a character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
“Sorry, Santa, we won’t pull your flying sleigh this year,” Rudolph replies. “Fine, I’ll do it myself,” Santa says.
In the next scene, Santa has turned into one of those incredible right-wing jerks who keep starting fights on commercial air flights. He even says, “Let’s go Brandon.”
Watch the whole thing below: