Stephen Colbert gets COVID-19 again, cancels ‘Late Show’

Exactly a week after returning to “The Late Show” after a bout of COVID-19, host Stephen Colbert is canceling the taping of more new episodes due to “a recurrence” of the highly contagious virus.

“Stephen is experiencing symptoms consistent with a recurrence of COVID,” said a Monday tweet on the CBS show’s Twitter account, notifying fans and followers that the show will be extending its break.

“Out of an abundance of caution for his staff, guests, and audience, he will be isolating for a few additional days. The Late Show will not be taping new episodes until further notice,” the tweet said.

The Emmy winner, who had returned to his late-night desk last week, also tweeted: “WORST. SEQUEL. EVER.”

It’s unclear whether Colbert contracted the disease anew or never fully recovered from his first bout with it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that reinfections — meaning a person was infected, recovered and then later became infected again — can occur, although most individuals will have some protection from repeat infections.

The news comes three days after the show’s band leader — Grammy winner Jon Batiste — announced that he, too, had contracted the virus. Batiste bowed out of the talk show as well as the premiere of his “American Symphony” production at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Colbert’s guests this week would have included comedian Sarah Silverman, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, actors Tracy Letts, Jean Smart and Hugh Dancy, journalist Jake Tapper and comedian Ken Jeong. Scheduled musical guests included Sharon Van Etten, Beach House and Regina Spektor.

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. Cases are also on the rise in California. Just last week, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host Jimmy Kimmel tapped comedian Mike Birbiglia to guest host while he was out with the infection too.

In response, Colbert’s social media staff called on President Joe Biden “to open America’s strategic Jimmy reserve” and offered a number of famous Jimmys to fill in for Kimmel and CBS’ outgoing “Late Late Show” host James Corden.

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