Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Last Week Tonight returns to assert that, with Brexit, Britain has not yet begun to fuck itself

John Oliver
Screenshot: Last Week Tonight

John Oliver returned on Sunday with Last Week Tonight, the answer to the question, “What does it feel like when a cheeky British man makes you laugh while imparting truly horrifying world news analysis?” (It apparently makes Emmy voters feel pretty good, actually.) Perhaps feeling a bit homesick for the land of his birth, or because the hard deadline for the “playful, fun name that’s been given to a disaster” that is Brexit is looming in now 39 days, he spent the bulk of his sixth season premiere examining that encroaching social and economic disaster. You know the one where a slim margin of the populace made a snap judgement based on racist lies and fear-mongering politicking to turn their fates over to a completely unvetted and potentially catastrophic result based on one, single vote? Hah! Those stupid Brits! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! We’d never do something so narrow-mindedly stupid just to pander to our basest, most shameful white supremacist atavistic impulses! U.S.A.! (Note: Technically true. See: Popular vote vs. electoral college.) U.S.A.!

Anyway. Oliver did his signature laugh-’til-your-stomach-hurts number on Brexit, with a meticulous, three-point breakdown of the possible consequences and remedies to Great Britain leaving the European Union on March 29, while still having plenty of room to show extended clips from a music video from the Breuinion Boys. You know, the Dutch boy band formed specifically to croon ditties like “Britain Come Back,” and to use their semi-impressive abs to lure wayward Brits into remaining. Oh, in answer to Oliver’s three questions: Yes, the “no deal” Brexit will completely screw Britain’s economy and cause a likely resumption of armed conflict in already divided Ireland; Yes, Brits are stockpiling emergency “Brexit boxes” of tinned supplies (mostly consisting of the delicious foods immigrants to Great Britain introduced to the traitional English suet pudding diet); and, yes, Prime Minister Theresa May could simply decide to scuttle this obvious iceberg of a plan outright. But, as Oliver notes, such a step would take political courage, so that’s right out.


All that and Oliver still had time to mock infamous pro-Brexit bigot and “untitled Gary Busey project” Boris Johnson; reveal how England’s laws against showing clips from Parliament on comedy shows means British viewers of Last Week tonight will instead see a clip from a Chippendales exercise video; and unveil a new Last Week Tonight coffee mug emblazoned with the Brexit-specific quote, “You’ve pretty much fucked yourself with a rusty piece of rebar.” (Sadly, said mug does not yet appear to be available at the HBO store.) Bringing his first season six piece of humorously horrifying analysis to a close, Oliver didn’t sound hopeful that British politicians will do anything other than send the ill-assembled Brexit bus careening right over the cliff of economic ruination like The Young Ones, noting that this whole fiasco is akin to Pompeiians having voted for the volcano. Or, as his concluding Churchillian Brexit video rousinglyand bull-headedly declared, Brexit-bound Great Britain “has not even begun to fuck [itself.]”

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.