One popular trope is when an actor portrays a medical professional on TV, they break the fourth wall and remind viewers, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” In the case of comedian Ken Jeong, though, he actually was a doctor before his turn in the 2009 movie The Hangover and his short-lived sitcom Dr. Ken. So he appeared on Tuesday’s episode of the Late Late Show and addressed Nicki Minaj’s claim that the COVID-19 vaccine will make men’s gonads enlarge in size yet also make them impotent. But maybe Jeong’s take should carry more, ahem, weight.
“I was a practicing internist,” he told talk show host James Corden. He then gave some lighthearted but serious advice. “My wife is still practicing [as a] family medicine practitioner, and I think between the two of us — and I’ve talked to my wife about this — we can confidently say that any of the COVID vaccines… do not lead to a swelling of testicles, called elephantiasis, in any cousin, nephew, relative.”
Jeong then proceeded to be more direct. “It doesn’t cause any ball-swelling whatsoever,” he said. “So, I’m just saying. Don’t get medical advice from Nicki Minaj.” But then he made another joke and said he would consider “a little cardiology advice” from Cardi B because “she’s a licensed Cardi-ologist.”
His statement echoed that of Time’s Man of the Year for 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Last week, Fauci spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper to counter Minaj’s remark but noted that her assumptions might be the result of keyboard warriors spreading rumors on the internet.
“There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no,” he said to Tapper. “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.”
Fauci, who also currently serves as President Biden’s chief medical advisor, was clear that he didn’t fault Minaj for a lack of knowledge but for not speaking with a real grasp of the facts. “I’m not blaming her for anything,” he continued. “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.”