John Oliver delivered a blistering takedown of Big Pharma … in 2015.
The “Last Week Tonight” segment found Oliver excoriating drug companies for what he deemed less than moral tactics.
“Drug companies are a bit like high school boyfriends … They’re much more concerned with getting inside of you than being effective once they’re in there.”
Stephen Colbert took his own swing at Big Pharma three years later.
“There are certain subjects that are genuinely hard to talk about like, the opioid crisis. It’s an epidemic that affects both political parties, Republican, Democrat, rich people, poor people, it does not discriminate … And a lot of people blame Big Pharma, but only because it’s their fault.”
Big Pharma had a big, fat target on its back for some time.
When your doctor is in the pocket of Big Pharma. pic.twitter.com/KbpZxuFfpx
— comedycentral (@ComedyCentral) February 1, 2019
That was then. Now, with Pfizer’s tactics under fire from alternative media outlets it’s the perfect time for Oliver and Colbert, among others, to take satirical swings at the mega company.
Just imagine a “Saturday Night Live” sketch tweaking this exchange alone.
— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) January 27, 2023
That video sting quickly generated millions of views on YouTube (before its deletion), Twitter and elsewhere. Even if the mainstream media did its best to ignore or downplay a Pfizer executive’s shocking confessions (which he later denied as lies), many Americans learned about it via social media and brave news outlets like The Daily Mail.
Except we’re not seeing any jokes on the subject from the usual suspects.
Late-night liberals have steered clear of the Project Veritas video and its ensuing headlines from right-leaning media outlets. Nor have they questioned recent revelations that the COVID-19 vaccine didn’t operate as advertised.
The vaccine didn’t stop people from getting the virus or transmitting it. We’ve known that for months, and yet the Late-Night Jimmys don’t think it’s worth addressing. Speaking “truth to power” has its guard rails, apparently.
They’d rather sing songs about indoor mask wearing … while not wearing actual masks indoors.
It’s not as if late-night comics ignored Pfizer’s handiwork.
Viewers have been deluged with pro-vaccine sketches, dances and musical numbers across the late night landscape. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel said unvaccinated Americans didn’t deserve medical treatment if they got sick from the virus.
Former shock jock Howard Stern said the same but in angrier terms.
Colbert went a few steps further.
Some comedians may genuinely fear cancellation for taking on Big Pharma. YouTube punished Project Veritas for its recent sting that showed a Pfizer Executive admitting the company does “gain of function”-style research on viruses like COVID-19.
Big Tech routinely censors jokes it finds “problematic” or, more specifically, hits targets inconvenient to the preferred narratives du jour.
Kimmel and co. also might get blowback from their corporate overlords if Big Pharma cash is part of their revenue streams.
Or these comics are simply being tribal, assuming anything tied to the vaccine is pro-liberal, anti-conservative, and they fear embracing the other side if only for a sketch or gag?
UPDATE: One comedy institution is willing to mock Big Pharma.
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