Celebrities have been posting bland videos extending their “thoughts and prayers” to those affected by the coronavirus for weeks. At the same time, a new type of social media star emerged: the irate Italian mayors who’ve minced no words in calling out their constituents, getting nearly as many views in the process. “Where are you going with these incontinent dogs?,” the mayor of Gualdo Tadino asked the “colossal idiots” who’ve suddenly taken an interest in dog-walking. “We will send over the police,” another threatened those considering throwing parties. “With flamethrowers.”
Now, as the virus continues its rapid spread across the U.S., American celebrities are starting to take a page out of their book. Hilary Duff was a pioneer in the medium; more than two weeks ago, she posted an Instagram Story addressed “all you young millennial assholes that keep going out and partying.” “Go home,” she continued. “Stop killing old people, please.”
In the past 24 hours, two more celebrities joined the fray. On Tuesday, the official Twitter account of the California governor’s office shared a video message from Larry David, who candidly called out those flouting the CDC’s guidelines for Americans to only leave their home when it’s essential, and to maintain a distance from others of six feet. “Obviously somebody put me up to this, ‘cause this is generally not the kind of thing I do,” David begins. “But I basically want to address the idiots out there—and you know who you are. I don’t know what you’re doing. You’re going out, you’re socializing too close. It’s not good.”
“You’re hurting old people like me. Well, not me, I have nothing to do with you, I’ll never see you. But other, let’s say, other old people who might be your relatives, who the hell knows?,” he continued, sitting on an armchair somewhere indoors. “The problem is you're passing up a fantastic opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to stay in the house, sit on the couch and watch TV. I don’t know how you’re passing that up. Well, maybe because you’re not that bright.”
According to David, the only exception for coming into contact with others should be if you have a plumbing emergency. Referencing Curb Your Enthusiasm, he continued, “If you’ve seen my show, nothing good ever happens going out of the house, you know that. It’s just trouble out there. It’s not a good place to be. So stay home and don’t see anyone.”
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Samuel L. Jackson followed suit. Wearing entirely purple, including a t-shirt emblazoned with a cartoon of himself, he joined Jimmy Kimmel to read aloud a “sort of sequel” to the children’s book Go the F**ck to Sleep, which he recorded for Audible in 2016.
After six minutes of chatting about what he’s been watching lately—including, of course, Tiger King—Jackson cracks open a hardbound copy of the latest poem from the original’s coauthor, Adam Mansbach. The book is titled Stay the F**k at Home, though Jackson didn’t shy from swearing on-air. (Kimmel later bleeped the audio.)
“Technically, I’m not a doctor,” Jackson said. “But motherfuckers listen when I read a poem. So here I am, Sam Fucking Jackson, imploring you: Keep your ass at home.” Unless you just ran out of groceries, he continued, “just stay the fuck at home, as if your name was Trenton Quarantino.” The poem ends with a relatively polite expression of gratitude: “Thank you for doing your part to flatten the curve, because that shit is steep.”