During Brexit process, British satirist John Oliver spent a considerable portion of his late-night HBO program, Last Week Tonight, addressing the upcoming EU referendum, and urging his viewers that it would be “absolutely crazy” for Britain to leave the European Union, warning of “wide-ranging implications both for the U.K. and the world’s economy.”
Well, it turns out Oliver was right. Britain, fueled by xenophobic rhetoric and anti-immigration hysteria, voted to “leave” the EU, et voila: the world financial markets plummeted, as did the British pound.
So this week’s edition of Last Week began, of course, with the Brexit disaster.
“Let us begin straightaway with the United Kingdom, a place whose very name after this week’s events is beginning to sound a bit sarcastic,” said Oliver. “The fallout in Britain [post-Brexit] has been swift and significant.”
The one positive, Oliver joked, was that Prime Minister David Cameron announced he’d be stepping down from his post in the wake of the Brexit vote.
“That’s right—David Cameron announced he’d be stepping down in the wake of the vote, which should make me happy, but in this situation, it doesn’t. It’s like catching an ice cream cone out of the air because a child was hit by a car. I mean, I’ll eat it, but it’s tainted somehow,” Oliver quipped.
“Before you have any sympathy for David Cameron,” he added, “you should know that this whole vote was his idea in the first place. Yes, Cameron proposed the ‘in’ or ‘out’ choice himself, which he normally only does when he’s deciding to fuck a pig’s mouth.”
The two leading voices of the Brexit movement, UKIP frontman Nigel Farage and ex-Mayor of London Boris Johnson, have called the referendum date the U.K.’s “Independence Day”—a ridiculous assertion that irked Oliver.
“OK, a couple of things there: First, Britain was already independent. In fact, it’s what many other countries celebrate their independence from,” said Oliver. “And second, the sequel to the movie they’re quoting [Independence Day: Resurgence] actually opened this week and featured the wholesale destruction of London, which is beginning to feel pretty fucking appropriate right now.”
“And I’m not sure the pro-Brexit camp had planned on winning,” he continued, “because the next day, they started speaking a lot more carefully about the promises that had been made. You might remember that campaign bus which read, ‘We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.’ Well, here’s Nigel Farage the morning after the vote.”
Oliver then cut to a now-infamous clip of Farage on the talk show Good Morning Britain who said, when asked if he could guarantee that the £350 million a week would go to the NHS: “No, I can’t. And I never would have made that claim. It’s one of the mistakes I think the ‘leave’ campaign made.”
“Oh, now you’re telling us!” exclaimed the comedian. “But it does seem that Farage will not correct factual mistakes when they’re on the side of buses. I therefore would encourage Britain to take bus ads reading, ‘Nigel Farage has spent hours trying to put his own penis in his asshole.’ I presume he’ll be silent about it.”
Then Oliver got serious, pointing to the testimonies of leaders from Scotland and Northern Ireland who’ve threatened to leave the U.K. to rejoin the EU, as well as the possibility that the EU will make an example of the U.K. in order to send a message to other member nations that are contemplating leaving.
“Basically, it seems like whoever the next U.K. prime minister is going to be, whether it’s Boris Johnson or a racist tea kettle, they are going to be in for a rough few years, because once they invoke what’s known as Article 50, they have just two years to negotiate their withdrawal and future relationship with the EU,” said Oliver. “On top of which, they’ll have to settle outstanding bills with the EU, hammer out new trade bills with dozens of countries, sift through thousands of EU regulations and decide which ones to keep, and figure out how migration will work—and all the while, lives hang in the balance.”
He summed the waking nightmare up thusly: “A pigfucker called for a vote, a bus had some bullshit written on it, and then two idiots named Nigel and Boris quoted President Bill Pullman.”
Oh, and as if the Brexit shitshow couldn’t get any worse, Donald Trump arrived in Scotland to promote his remodeled Turnberry golf course—you know, the subject of the documentary A Dangerous Game, which asserted that Trump’s golf courses are environmental disasters.
When Trump was asked about “the seismic events unfolding in Europe”—as Oliver put it—the real estate heir turned reality TV host turned presumptive Republican nominee for POTUS gave an answer that left everyone scratching their heads.
“I think it’s going to end up being a great thing, and the beautiful, beautiful thing is your people have taken the country back, and there’s something very, very nice about that, and they’ve voted, and it’s been peaceful, and it was strong and very contentious, and in many respects I watched last night and it was a little bit ugly, but it’s been an amazing process to watch,” said Trump.
Not all that surprising, I suppose, considering that Trump was not even familiar with the term “Brexit” as of June 1. “He just said absolutely nothing, because let me explain,” said Oliver. “First, he said a Brexit will end up being great, which it very likely won’t; then he said the word ‘beautiful’ three times; then he said ‘your people have taken the country back’ even though he was in Scotland, which overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU; then he said ‘it’s been peaceful,’ which it absolutely hasn’t; then he immediately contradicted himself by saying it’s been ‘contentious’ and ‘ugly’; and then he summed the whole thing up as ‘amazing.’ Now, if he had simply breathed audibly into the microphone, the same amount of information would have been conveyed.”
“And the thing is, later that day, [Trump] found a way to make the whole thing about himself, tweeting: ‘Many people are equating BREXIT, and what is going on in Great Britain, with what is happening in the U.S. People want their country back!’” offered Oliver. “And you might think, well, that is not going to happen to us in America. We’re not going to listen to some ridiculously haired buffoon peddling lies and nativism in the hopes of riding a protest vote into power. Well, let Britain tell you, it can happen, and when it does, there are no fucking do-overs.”