Nicki Minaj elicited a swarm of comments about her stance on COVID-19 vaccination this week, including a series of cutting jokes on Tuesday night’s (Sept. 14) The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The episode opened with a raucous parody of Nicki’s 2011 hit “Super Bass,” which Colbert switched up as “Super Balls,” a reference to Minaj’s medically dubious claim that a friend of her cousin’s from Trinidad developed swollen testicles and impotence after getting a OVID vaccine, allegedly leading to him getting dumped by his fiancee.
The bit opened with tape of CNN anchors reading the tweet from Minaj explaining why she hasn’t gotten vaccinated — and, hence, why she did not appear at Monday night’s Met Gala — as she endeavors to do more “research” on the shots. Using footage from the colorful “Super Bass” video, the Colbert team refashioned the lyrics to refer to the situation.
“This one is for the boys with the swollen testes/ It’s a tale that was told by my cousin’s bestie,” it opened, complete with some new footage featuring pairs of basketballs, gourds and beach balls. “No need to fact check him/ Or debunk him/ Said the vax filled his sack/ With two massive pumpkins/ And it’s sad, too bad, his bride got mad/ How could she love a man with some beach ball nads?/ Distraught, she thought she loved him a lot/ But now his nuts lookin’ like they’re from Epcot/ It didn’t make his thing long/ Still a normal ding-dong/ But it made his ping pongs look like they were King Kong’s.”
After that hot take cold open, Colbert couldn’t resist a double-down in his monologue, hitting the Minaj story again after his rundown of the most notable costumes from this year’s Met gala. “One Met Gala invitee who didn’t show up was rapper Nicki Minaj,” he said. “Minaj tweeted that the reason she didn’t go to the Met Gala was because of her young child, but she also tweeted, ‘They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now.'”
With the crowd — who must be fully vaccinated and masked inside the theater — booing lustily, Colbert continued, “No, I am not surprised. Nicki Minaj is known for for her extensive research on what anacondas want … if and when you’ve got buns, hun.” He then probed the follow-up tweet from Minaj, which he said proved how deeply the rapper had delved into vaccine science, citing the cousin in Trinidad tweet.
“See, that’s why I made sure to get my shot in the shoulder,” he quipped. “So important. I can’t believe I have to say this, but doctors agree that COVID vaccines do not cause swollen testicles. But, to be fair to Dr. Minaj, everyone knows there’s no source more reliable than your extended family’s acquaintances in another country. Her report comes straight from the New England Journal of My Cousin’s Friend in Trinidad. Check out this week’s study: ‘I Heard His Girlfriend Got Pregnant From a Hot Tub.'”
Among the many medical experts denouncing Minaj’s false claims was Biden administration Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that the answer to whether vaccinated people might suffer from reproductive issues is a “resounding no.” He explained, “There’s no evidence that it happens nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen.”
And, given Minaj’s wide-ranging social media reach of 22.6 million Twitter followers, Fauci denounced the spread of such false information “mostly on social media, and the only way we know to counter mis- and disinformation is to provide a lot of correct information and to essentially debunk these kinds of claims, which may be innocent on her part, I’m not blaming her for anything. But she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis except as a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about.”
Check out the Late Show‘s Minaj bits below.