Stephen Colbert finds an unlikely loophole in the WHO's red meat-cancer warning

Stephen Colbert laments the warning about red meat and cancer
(Image credit: Late Show)

On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert talked about the disgusting amount of hot dogs that contain human DNA, and "the sad meat news keeps on coming," he said on Tuesday's show. He was referring, of course, to the World Health Organization's warning that processed meats like bacon, sausage, and salami — plus perhaps all red meat — increases your odds of getting cancer. "How can cured meat be bad for you?" Colbert implored. "It has the word 'cured' right in the name." This is personal for him, he added, since bacon is the only thing that gets his two teenage sons out of bed in the morning.

"Now, according to 'doctors,' I can't smoke and I can't eat bacon," Colbert said. "But they haven't said anything about smoking bacon." And so he did. His verdict? "That is actually better than I imagined," he said, laughing. "But be careful: The pork these days is so much stronger than it was in the '60s." The pot jokes gave way to mocking the smug vegetarians ("which is redundant, by the way" Colbert joked) who got "all veggier than thou" about the study. And he hit where it hurt: veggie hot dogs — which, it turns out, also often contain both meat and human DNA. Colbert wrapped it all up in the only way he could: "So vegetarians, stick that in your pipe and smoke it." Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.