‘Slightly melancholic’ John Oliver’s Australian visit to air on Foxtel this week

john oliver opera houseFootage from Daily Show contributor John Oliver’s trip Down Under will be aired in Australia on The Comedy Channel over the next few days.

Oliver – who will become the show’s host later this year while regular presenter Jon Stewart is directing a film – generated controversy last week when he described Australia as one of the most comfortably racist places he had ever visited.

He was in Australia to do pieces on gun control. His first report on the topic – featuring former PM John  Howard – was broadcast on the show in the US on Friday, with more to come in the next couple of episodes which will be shown here on Foxtel during the coming week.

Oliver caused controversy last week when he said on his podcast The Bugle: “Australia turns out to be a sensational place, albeit one of the most comfortably racist places I’ve ever been in. They’ve really settled into their intolerance like an old resentful slipper.”

After Mumbrella reported his comments they were picked up and widely reported by most of Australia’s media outlets

Oliver returned to the topic this week, telling The Bugle listeners: “I inadvertently caused a minor shit storm to blow across Australia last week. In this opening bit to last week’s Bugle I described Australia as – and I quote myself – ‘the most comfortably racist place I’ve ever been’.”

“And someone – I don’t know who – seemed to think it would be a good idea to transcribe what I said out of the context of the podcast and  unleash it upon Australian journalism where it seemed essentially to be reported as ‘Daily Show reporter calls Australia the most racist country in the world’.”

Oliver on this week’s The Bugle:

“And all manner of internet hell seemed to break loose. It was a truly, deeply demoralising experience to watch it all blow up . It made me hate the internet, modern journalism and myself, not necessarily in that order.

“Let me be clear. I was not saying that Australia was the most racist place I’ve ever been – not by a long shot. I was just pointing out that it was the most comfortable in that racism. To be fair, that’s almost a compliment. Sure, it’s still technically an insult, but it’s a complimentary insult, if that helps.

“I hope whoever passed this around got what they wanted, if what they wanted was hysteria and my slight melancholy. Because if so, they should be deeply pleased with the results.

mumbrella visits 2013

The story about Oliver’s comments delivered Mumbrella its most daily visits of 2013 on Tuesday

“Some of the comments that did get through to me did not help the case that Australia was trying to make back at all. One guy said ‘We’re not racist, we’ve just got similar problems with Lebos that you have in the UK with Pakistanis and West Indians’. You’re not helping your argument.

“For what it’s worth, Australia, the pieces I was shooting for the show are nothing to do with racism anyway. They’re all about gun control. But frankly now I’m wondering whether one of them should have been about it.

“The week I had in Australia outside of that is still one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve had in my life.”

Tim Burrowes


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