Jimmy Kimmel on the coronaversary: 'Hard to believe we’ve been in for a whole year'

Thursday, 11 March, marked one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, and to observe the dismal year of an endless March, Jimmy Kimmel hosted his “first and hopefully last” coronaversary show in sweatpants, with extra toilet paper on hand.

“Remember when we were carefully disassembling our Instacart deliveries like a munitions expert in The Hurt Locker or something?” he recalled of quarantine’s frenzied early days. “If somebody said N95 to you one year ago, you would think they were a bingo caller.”

“We haven’t been able to see friends, hug loved ones – I miss physical contact so much I applied for a job at Governor Cuomo’s office last month,” he joked.

It’s “hard to believe we’ve been in for a whole year since people were dancing in clubs, people were eating in crowded restaurants, passing bongs around the beach, partying like it’s 1999”, Kimmel added over footage of people partying in large groups on the beach. “It seems like yesterday. And you know what? That was yesterday. Those clips were from Texas and Florida, yesterday.”

Joe Biden struck a note of optimism in his first primetime address as president on Thursday, as he promised vaccine eligibility for all American adults by 1 May and touted the possibility of outdoor group gatherings for the 4th of July.

The speech came exactly one year after Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the virus in primetime, calling the risk “very, very low”.

“That’s what they say about owning a casino, and he bankrupted three of those,” Kimmel quipped.

“I think we all remember where we were when we heard the news” of the pandemic “because we’re all still there,” Stephen Colbert lamented on Thursday’s Late Show in observance of the pandemic’s one-year anniversary. “Of course, it’s also the one-year anniversary of the first time I Lysol-ed a banana,” he added.

Colbert recalled his naivety on the pandemic at the time; in a clip from his first at-home show, he urged viewers to “get comfortable” as experts expected Americans to stay home for eight weeks. “First it was going to be eight weeks, then Easter, then Memorial Day, then July – it was worse than waiting for the cable guy!” Colbert joked. “The CDC should have just issued a statement that said: “Your pandemic will end shortly, please be home between the hours of 8am and three years from now.’”

Colbert also touched on Biden’s primetime speech, which honored the sacrifices made during the pandemic while previewing a “return to some sense of normalcy”.

“Ok that sounds nice, but what the hell constitutes normalcy,” Colbert wondered. “Even before the Covid, there was systemic racism, global warming, half of us heard ‘Yanny’, the other half heard ‘Laurel’, the world is chaos.”

To advocate for his administration’s vaccination plan, the Biden administration also unveiled a public service announcement featuring the Obamas, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and his wife Laura, and even 96-year-old Jimmy Carter. “But there’s no sign of the last guy,” Colbert observed. “Maybe his invite got lost in the mail because he destroyed the postal service.”

And on Late Night, Seth Meyers mourned a year since “we all trapped ourselves inside our homes with stockpiles of gin and red wine watching Tiger King and Love is Blind while clinging to our last shreds of toilet paper like a plank floating in the water after a shipwreck”.

It’s also been a year since Trump delivered a rambling, off-script address to the nation in which he downplayed the risks of the virus. “Trump’s bizarre, half-hearted speech one year ago is in stunning contrast to the seriousness and gravitas of the speech President Biden delivered tonight, exactly one year later, to mark the pain the country has endured while also offering hope for the future,” said Meyers, noting the $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill Biden signed on Thursday.

The bill is enormously popular, with 75% of Americans and 59% of Republicans approving the measure, “and yet Republicans have derided as a so-called partisan bill”, said Meyers.

But some of the “most galling behavior”, he added, came from Republicans who tried to take credit for aspects of the bill while still voting against it, such as Senator Roger Wicker, a “no” vote who tweet-bragged about stimulus money for small businesses. “I know these guys are shameless, but I’m still shocked,” said Meyers. “They’re the kind of guys who would run out and try and lift Tom Brady on their shoulders while wearing Chiefs jerseys.”

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