Stephen Colbert jokes he got COVID to avoid Jason Bateman

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There wasn’t a new episode of “The Late Show” on Thursday night and there won’t be one for at least another week.

Host Stephen Colbert tested positive for coronavirus resulting in the cancellation of Thursday’s episode and other new episodes until May 2, according to the late-night show’s Twitter account. Repeats will air instead.

But it’s Colbert who had the last laugh — at the expense of beloved actor Jason Bateman.

“Yep! I tested positive for Covid, but basically I’m feeling fine- grateful to be vaxxed and boosted. Thank you for the well wishes,” he replied. “This just proves that I will do anything to avoid interviewing Jason Bateman.”

For the record:

9:20 p.m. April 22, 2022A previous version of this article identified Bateman’s podcast as “Shameless.” The title is “SmartLess.”

The “SmartLess” podcast host, who is doing the rounds for the fourth and final season of his Netflix series “Ozark,” is not on Twitter and has not yet responded to Colbert’s quip.

After a 15-month stretch and 211 remotely produced episodes, Colbert’s CBS talk show returned to his usual haunt at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater last June with an in-studio audience of 400 people.

The Emmy winner’s recent diagnosis comes as coronavirus cases are rising again in New York fueled by the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2. The state appears to be on the brink of moving from its low-risk level to a medium-risk level, the New York Times reported.

In California, cases are rising modestly in some parts of the state in the wake of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, spring break and a bustling holiday season that includes Easter, Ramadan and Passover.

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