John Oliver Flushes Out Britain’s Wild Badger Conservatives

Sometimes you get the sense that John Oliver gets homesick. Despite becoming an American citizen in 2019, the native Brit portrays himself as possibly the most British person walking the planet, and his routinely scathing stories about his home country’s ongoing injustices under the last 14 years of conservative rule there see him delighting in schooling his adopted fellow Americans with the ins and outs of everything ludicrously English.

That signature British cheek served Oliver well in this week’s main story, concerning as it did the upcoming U.K. elections in which, for the first time in those 14 years (a fort-year? Is that a thing?), the conservative Tories look to be on the verge of what Oliver, gleefully echoing British political prognosticators, speculated to be “an extinction-level event.” As ever the case on Last Week Tonight, Oliver’s cheek went by jowl with plenty of documentation as to why the demise of the long-ruling Tories is cause for celebration. Call it British Conservative Incompetence and Cruelty for Dummies.

And while it seems that the saga of Red Lobsters, cake bears, and delicious giant asses has run its course, Oliver did take some time to mock Louisiana’s enforced public school Christian worship, revisit the Alito’s flag fetish, and mock infamously incorrect money madman Jim Cramer. You know, just for fun.

It’s Been a Busy Week

With plenty of British Government 101 to lay out for his American audience, Oliver only took time at the top of the show to delve into the Louisiana Republican Party’s latest assault on the separation of church and state, Governor Jeff Landry’s pet law that the Christian Ten Commandments must now be posted (poster-size) in every public school in the state. Yes, that’s public school.

Sometimes a comedian has to stretch to find the perfect metaphor to really drive their point home, but Oliver truly had it easy this week when, at the signing of the patently unconstitutional law, Landry yammered on about kindergartners needing Moses while a small child standing behind him fainted and crashed to the floor. While rejoicing that the little girl in question was fine, Oliver noted that “loudly pretending to care about the well being of a child” while ignoring a literally child keeling over right behind you is Louisiana’s new law in a nutshell. (Landry has simultaneously refused $71 million in federal food assistance for poor kids in his state, showing another facet of conservatives’ take on Jesus’ teachings.)

And while Oliver noted that the immediate lawsuit against this fundamentalist nonsense brought by the ACLU and others would normally be a slam dunk precedent-wise, he did concede that the current Supreme Court has something of its own flag-related precedent going. You know, what with sitting Justice Samuel Alito and his wife openly flying an upside-down American flag in support of the January 6 insurrection and Mrs. Alito being caught on tape sounding like some hybrid Mafia-witch, scheming over her plans to taunt her Pride flag-flying neighbors with her own, hand-sewn banner reading “Vergogna” (“shame”) in Italian. As one expert’s clip put it gingerly, “Precent is not what it used to be.”

Couple that with MAGA bigots suing to remove all Pride flags from public schools, and Oliver summed up the Republican position as “rail[ing] against cancel culture while trying to ban things they don’t like.” Pointing to the Colorado GOP’s official call for people to literally burn Pride flags to protest Pride Month (complete with a laser-eyed Jesus proclaiming “God Hates Flags” in an undisguised echo of the hateful phrase used by anti-LGBTQ+ a-holes the world over), Oliver could only mock the so-called “Straight Pride” flag offered up as a bigot-friendly alternative. (Its stark black and white stripes seemingly incarcerating a male and female symbol in joyless mid-coitus does nothing to refute the idea that gay love is a whole lot more fun and exciting.)

Brexit, Stage Right

After dispensing with the also-ran centrist Liberal Democrats (whose leader is seen giving an interview on a teacups ride) and the fascist-happy Reform UK party (whose virulently anti-immigrant leader Nigel Farage keeps getting pelted with milkshakes in public), Oliver ran down the truly astonishing run of conservative numpties, wankers, fuckletoes, tossers, dicksplashes, pillocks, and cockwombles he says have been in charge of the U.K. for too long. (Putting up a list of those singularly British insults along with a few others, Oliver taunted his audience, “Only one of those is made up and it’s not the one you think.”)

And a true parade of numpties they’ve been, with David Cameron’s foolish call for a Brexit vote (which he opposed) blowing up in his face, Theresa May failing to find a workable way to make the Brexit boondoggle happen, Boris Johnson finally completing England’s economy-crippling withdrawal from the European Union just in time to completely botch the country’s Covid response, and the decidedly odd Liz Truss serving the shortest Prime Minster turn ever before handing things over to current PM Rishi Sunak. Seen peremptorily calling for a snap election in a pouring rainstorm (with Oliver helpfully explaining how British elections, like everything else, “are kind of like the U.S., but whimsically worse”), Sunak’s Tories are poised to lose—and lose big.

It’s happy news for ex-pat Oliver, who decried not only that whole Brexit debacle and the fact that David Cameron was outed for putting his penis in a dead pig’s mouth at university (not a comical exaggeration), but the Tories’ so-called “austerity” policies, which have crippled everything from the National Health Service to financial assistance for needy children, the food insecure, pregnant women, and the disabled. (One clip sees a barely mobile citizen lamenting how they sold off their cutlery in a vain attempt to purchase a much-needed wheelchair, while Oliver cited the return of malnutrition-related diseases like scurvy and rickets and the fact that little Brits are literally shrinking from lack of proper food.)

It’s the good old conservative mindset that recessions are caused by poor people’s basic needs and not massive tax cuts for the rich and xenophobia-driven policy disasters, with Sunak (who is richer himself than the king) accusing those in need of government programs of engaging in the “lifestyle choice” of, say, wanting to go to the doctor. “A rich f**king statement coming from a rich f**cking man who’d probably go into anaphylactic shock if he ever had to fly coach,” Oliver termed it as he happily predicted the oncoming Tory-tastrophe.

And, sure, the host did have to concede that the Labour Party’s leader Kier Starmer might be the single least interesting or charismatic man in Great Britain. (The fact that he once took violin lessons And that the current Labour platform looks ready to retain some of the Tories’ most Scrooge-esque austerity measures. Yet Oliver could not conceal his decidedly un-English exuberance at the prospect of the conservatives’ long reign of errors and terrorizing Britain’s less fortunate coming to an end, as he compared the ruling party to that wild badger in your living room you don’t argue about but instead chase out into the wilderness with a blunt object. Cue the rain machines, as Oliver raised his arms in an Andy Dufresne-style “Freedom!” pose as his Last Week Tonight set was thoroughly drenched in the cleansing rains of long-awaited national change.

Switching from Shawshank to Independence Day (July 4 being the day chosen for the British election), Oliver, happily sopping wet, paraphrased Bill Pullman’s inspirational President Thomas J. Whitmore. “If we do this, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as just an American holiday,” exclaimed the soaking wet Oliver, building to a triumphant climax, “but also the day when Britain looked at the conservatives who’ve driven the entire country into a ditch and said with one voice, loud and clear, ‘F**k off into the sun you c**ts, f**kpigs and weirdos. You tossers, wankers, dicksplashes, and cockwombles.’ If Britain stands together this July 4th, it will finally celebrate its Independence Day!” God save the king.

And Now This…

As mentioned, CNBC’s self-proclaimed investment expert and Mad Money host Jim Cramer once got effectively demolished by Jon Oliver’s old Daily Show boss Jon Stewart for Pied Piper-ing his viewers into losing everything in the 2007-2008 economic collapse via his Morning Zoo Crew-style TV antics. But Oliver tonight was more focused on Cramer’s habit of red-faced rants about “tops” and “bottoms” as part of his rapid-fire economic schtick. Portraying the ensuing montage as part of Cramer’s Pride Month celebration saw the host excitedly talking about “nailing the bottom,” being able to spot “textbook bottom behavior,” and proudly proclaiming that he’s been “spelunking for bottoms for 40 years.”

Cardus Endus

Rest in Power-Hitting glory, Willie Mays. The baseball legend died on Tuesday at the age of 93, leaving the world a little sadder and a whole lot less graceful and majestic. Mays’ stats are one thing (and what a thing) but the five-tool star’s experiences fighting his way up through segregated baseball also inspired 78-year-old superstar Reggie Jackson to relate just how gut-wrenching an experience it was for Mays, himself, and other former Negro League players to play during Jim Crow during a Negro Leagues tribute game at Alabama’s Rickwood Stadium. That this and MLB’s decision to include Negro League statistics in its all-time records tallies earlier this month inspired outrage from (mostly white) writers and fans is testament to just how little things have really changed, and how majestically Willie Mays soared in spite of it all.

Last Lines Tonight

“Do you know how much of an out-of-touch wang you have to for people to think you’re whole vibe can be summed up by the word ‘rich?'”

On the word cloud describing Britain’s current PM

“I’m not saying id f**k a tractor, I’m saying I’d let this tractor f**k me so hard I’d sprout corn.”

on a Tory PM being caught watching porn on the job—it makes sense in context

“He probably would have gotten away with that too if someone hadn’t squealed. Not the pig, of course. The pig couldn’t squeal—it was dead. Plus, it’s mouth was full.”

on former tory PM David Cameron

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