Grizzled Aunt Wendy Lights Candy Cigarette, Prepares to Tell Disease Stories From Back in the Day

Illustration for article titled Grizzled Aunt Wendy Lights Candy Cigarette, Prepares to Tell Disease Stories From Back in the Day
Screenshot: The Wendy Williams Show

At the end of days, wise women will look to even wiser women for guidance—and so I look to Wendy Williams.

On Wednesday’s episode of The Wendy Williams Show, Williams greeted a sizably smaller studio audience (like, I’m talking half-full) with pack of Marlboro red candy cigarettes before launching into her “Hot Topics” segment. She pulled a single stick out of her pack, stuck it in her mouth, and squinted from the comfort of her Persian pink armchair as if to squawk, “Gather ‘round, young followers, and let me tell you the tale of public health crises past. There was no hope for us then; there’s no hope for us now.” Of course, it took a minute before I realized they were fake cigs and she wasn’t about to light a bogie and regale her audience with all of the ways coronavirus will infect us all, but it was amusing nonetheless.


Instead of polluting her studio with a delicious tobacco scent, Williams basked in the regularly scheduled chant of her name and requested a producer appear on screen to hand out the rest of her pack to the crowd. “We’re stressed out,” she declared, before sticking the candy cigarette back into her mouth and mumbling the instruction, “Pass them around,” with the vintage sweet still dangling from her lips.

Now, if there’s a better metaphor for life under COVID-19, I’ve yet to see it. In a few weeks or days time, there’s no doubt Williams will be going in to work to an empty studio audience. Devoid of cheer, she very well may light a real one up—and I will gladly watch from the comfort of my quarantine.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My first book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS, is out now. It is also very good.

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Candy cigarettes are an interesting case. Did a tobacco company push a confectionery manufacturer to create these to stimulate future demand? Or did the candy manufacturer recognize there was a demand from children imitating adults? 

Interesting to see how addictions perpetuate themselves.