While Chris Jericho, pro wrestler, remains an important and often entertaining part of AEW Dynamite, controversies continue to follow Chris Jericho the podcaster & entertainer, and Chris Irvine, the real person behind all of it.
On the latest edition of his Talk Is Jericho podcast, the former WWE and AEW World champion is again drawing criticism for his approach to the coronavirus pandemic. The focal point of the criticism is Jericho’s revelation that he tested positive for COVID-19 last fall, and his description of his personal experience with the disease:
“I haven’t really told you [his guest, Dr. Alex Patel] this, but I tested positive back in maybe September... and I had zero symptoms. I’m one of the ones that you said, you know, I had my ten days in isolation and stayed away from everybody, and I didn’t have a symptom. I didn’t even know that I had it. I went and got a test, just in general, and it was one of those ones that said you’re positive. I was like, ‘Really? You’re serious?’ And I had nothing. Like, I didn’t have a headache, I didn’t have a cough - which I guess is a very lucky thing. But then on top of that, Alex - and you’ll know this - once I did have it - and it wasn’t a false positive, because I took three different tests and they were all positive - but now, I have the antibodies.”
Among the reasons people have zeroed in on this anecdote is because “maybe September” is after definitely August, which is when Jericho’s band Fozzy played at the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. He took a defiant approach to pushback to that decision, even as it was deemed a super-spreader event that resulted in more than a quarter-million cases of COVID.
He’s denied on Twitter that he caught the virus at Sturgis, and looking at Jericho’s Dynamite appearances, it seems more likely he was quarantining in October. But the real issue I have with his declaration, and Jericho’s approach to the virus in general, is how it downplays a crisis that has killed nearly two million people around the world.
Patel does offer facts and figures which Jericho doesn’t argue with, but there’s little conflict between the two men. It’s the host’s position which is the clearest, and that position is pretty clear after Sturgis, this story about his own case of COVID, and the fact he’s brought in one doctor who validates his more moderate positions to TIJ a week after he chatted with a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t believe the pandemic is real.
Jericho doesn’t himself say COVID is a hoax. He’s not even anti-mask. There’s not much entertaining of any measures he doesn’t deem “common sense” on this podcast, though. Were its host as intellectually curious as he purports to be, he’d line up a guest or two who are willing to debate him about lockdowns and herd immunity. There’d be more discussion of asymptomatic spreaders, and the impact people in low-risk groups who contract the disease and recover are still having on our battered health care system.
I’ll always have respect and love for Chris Jericho, pro wrestler. But it’s becoming harder and harder for me to respect the way Chris Jericho, entertainer and podcaster, uses the platform pro wrestling helped him reach. Chris Irvine probably doesn’t care though.