John Oliver began Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight with a takedown of the Brexit vote and a warning to U.S. citizens that something similar could happen here if voters aren’t careful this fall.
“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,” Oliver said. “Because the UK this week voted to leave the European Union, a decision that has shaken the world. And not in a, ‘Muhammad Ali beating Sonny Liston’ kind of way. More in a, ‘Those IKEA meatballs you love contain horse kind of way.’ The fallout in Britain has been swift and significant.”
Among those consequences cited by Oliver was the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who in 2013 pledged to hold an in-or-out vote about Britain’s place in the EU.
“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’ll eat it, but it’s tainted somehow,” Oliver joked.
The host also blasted both Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, and Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and possible successor to Cameron as Prime Minister. (Of Johnson, Oliver said he looked like a “shaved orangutan with Owen Wilson’s hair.”) In the wake of the Brexit vote, both men called June 23 the country’s “independence day” with a passion that recalled Bill Pullman’s famous speech in Independence Day.
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“First, Britain was already independent. In fact, it’s what many other countries celebrate their independence from,” Oliver said. “And second, the sequel to the movie they’re quoting actually opened this week and features the wholesale destruction of London — which is beginning to feel pretty f—ing appropriate now.”
Oliver — who also mocked British voters for their lack of awareness about what a leave vote would mean — saved his final barbs for Donald Trump. Following the vote, Trump tweeted, “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!”
“He found a way to make this whole thing about himself,” Oliver said, before addressing the audience. “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 f—ing do-overs.”
Video of Oliver’s opening segment will be added when it’s made available.