11:00pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
John Oliver Rips New U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 'Last Week Tonight'
Five days after Boris Johnson was voted in as the United Kingdom's new prime minister, John Oliver took the politician to task on HBO's Last Week Tonight.
The former London mayor and British foreign secretary takes over from Theresa May, beating current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in an election last week.
Oliver made the argument that Johnson's "bumbling Brit" persona is manufactured.
He showed a clip of an interview in which Johnson told a story of a somewhat bizarre hobby of his, claiming that he enjoys making buses out of crates to relax in his free time — even down to painting the passengers looking out the windows.
"So three things about that," Oliver said Sunday on his HBO late-night show. "1, yes it's magnificent. 2, there's just now way that's true but 3, if it were true, I now want nothing more than to see one of those fucking buses. Because tif they're terrible, that's weird, but if they're impressive, that's somehow weirder. The very idea of the new prime minister painting crate buses in his spare time to relax is just endlessly fascinating."
Oliver went on to point out headlines that noted, however, that Johnson's story might have been a ploy to manipulate Google search results when people type in "Boris Johnson bus" given that he pushed for Brexit by enlisting a bus to travel around Britain with these words painted on its side: "We send the EU 350 million pounds a week, let’s fund our NHS instead." That statement, it turned out, was wrong, according to multiple reports.
Oliver went on to say that Johnson is "so much more than the potential Michelangelo of vehicular crafts."
Noting that Johnson has been called the "British Trump," Oliver argued that Johnson is "more complex" than Trump.
He showed a clip of another interview in which Johnson admits that sometimes he finds that it's better to act like he doesn't actually know what he's doing so people aren't sure if he's joking or not.
"He presents his own lack of of preparation so charmingly that you actually doubt he is unprepared but he is," Oliver said. "Can you imagine trump having that level of self-reflection?"
Oliver went on to state, "His bumbling persona is a carefully calculated act.… Once you realize what he's doing, it makes you question everything you found charming about him."
He noted several instances throughout Johnson's career as a journalist in which he wrote inaccuracies and created false narratives, noting that he was fired from The Times of London for fabricating a quote.
Oliver went on to note the importance of Johnson negotiating a successful Brexit deal by Oct. 31, which will have worldwide ramifications. He likened Johnson's role in the process to putting Hugh Grant's signature stammering, charming character into a serious film like United 93.
"It's less good in a situation that matters," Oliver said, adding that Johnson "cannot get what he wants or has promised here. His only hope of avoiding complete catastrophe is focus, attention and detail," traits that Oliver argued Johnson does not possess.