Throughout much of his sit-down with the late-night host, the White House Chief Medical Advisor—and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—was asked serious questions regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the road back to some form of normalcy, offering up his insights, as the nation’s leading immunologist.
Naturally, though, Colbert made sure to pitch Fauci a few jokey softball questions, covering everything from the nascence of the verb ‘Fauci-ing’ to when he can once again “hit the club.”
At one point, Fauci was asked which vaccine he prefers, between Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. “I would pick the one that was the most readily available to me,” he said. “All three of them are highly efficacious.”
“Which one most effectively delivers Bill Gates’ brain-controlling microchip?” Colbert then quipped—to which Fauci responded, “Well, there are a couple: one microchip from me, and one microchip from Bill. It depends which one you want.”
Later in the conversation, the host asked Fauci how he felt about all the attention he’s received, over the last year, as he’s risen to become “America’s most trusted doctor.”
“Well, I certainly want to be trusted,” he said. “I don’t necessarily dwell on the attention that I’ve gotten.”
Colbert then brought out a photo of the doctor on the cover of In Style magazine, also noting that he’d been nominated for People Magazine’s distinction of Sexiest Man Alive. “That wasn’t pleasurable at all?” he wondered.
“Well, Stephen, briefly, it was sort of an interesting concept,” Fauci admitted. “[But] when you realize how far it is from the truth, being somewhat of a realistic person, I then get back to my job.”
Subsequently, Colbert raised the question we’ve all been wondering about. “Can we still use ‘I’m quarantining’ as an excuse to get out of plans that we don’t want to be part of, even when things go back to normal?” he asked.
“I think you can if you want to,” Fauci deadpanned. “But you’re going to run out of time soon.”
Finally, the host asked the medical expert about the idea behind his Godfather motto, as an advisor to seven presidents. Fauci explained that he adopted the position of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone, as a model for his conduct, because he understood that the public might be inclined to make negative comments about him, whenever he entered the spotlight. In this sort of scenario, he’d simply remind himself, “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”
Naturally, the reference to Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster saga had left Colbert wondering, “Have you ever fantasized about dumping a horse’s head into Rand Paul’s bed?”
“No, no, no,” Fauci said. “But I think he may [have] fantasized doing it the other way, with me.”
Last night’s episode of The Late Show marked the year-anniversary of the CBS program’s final show from the Ed Sullivan Theater. On March 12, 2020, the show briefly halted production due to the pandemic, returning to the air on March 30, with shows delivered from Colbert’s home. The show would ultimately resume production in studio—albeit on a smaller set—on August 10.
Colbert’s “coronaverary” episode followed up a special episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! released on March 11, which marked, in the words of Kimmel, the anniversary of our “national incarceration.”
For a look at the comedic banter between Colbert and Fauci, click on the clips above and below.