The One Rio Olympics Mishap That John Oliver Will Not Stop Talking About
The world's eyes are on Rio this month, as 10,000 athletes have made their way to the Brazilian city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. While many people excitedly watch this year's coverage, others are certainly giving a critical look at the events, starting from the very beginning of the games. Some had positive reactions to Rio's opening ceremony last Friday, after weeks of coverage leading up to that night asking whether the city could pull it together in time. But one person had some critical words for NBC's coverage. John Oliver slammed NBC commentators' coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony on Last Week Tonight.
Oliver started his segment by commenting on the current situation in Brazil — from its political and economic unrest to the Zika virus facing the country's low-income communities. But, he says, "On Friday, NBC urged us to forget all that and focus on the opening ceremony." And of course, he mentioned the "solemn moment of history" we all experienced while watching, as Matt Lauer called her, "one of Brazil's most recognizable exports," Gisele Bündchen, walk across the stage, in what would be her final catwalk. (Sorry Lauer, but Gisele is a person, not a product, so let's not refer to her as an "export.") And Oliver lost it, exclaiming, "Wait, last catwalk? What's happening to her? Oh, my God, they're going to kill Gisele, aren't they?"
Perhaps the worst part of NBC's commentary, according to Oliver, was what they had to say during the Parade of Nations, as each country's team made its way through the stadium. Oliver described it as "the inspirational moment where athletes from around the globe come together as one to have Today show anchors point out everything that's wrong with their countries." For instance, they touched on the "mixed emotions" Turkey's team must be feeling following the military's failed coup in July, the "tragic year" for France following the attacks that took place in the country, and they didn't hold back when describing Sudan as a "troubled nation."
Oliver noted that it's a good thing they don't comment in a similar fashion during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Using the Charlie Brown character Snoopy as an example, he suggested their commentary would sound something like, "There is Snoopy, who of course is going to be put down later today."
But that aside, Oliver did get down to the important political struggles facing the people of Brazil. He noted how interim President Michel Temer was booed by the crowd, after being initially skipped over during the ceremony. Oliver suggested that those "boos" made sense for various reasons, the first being that Temer "is unelected, and is planning to push through a number of austerity measures," and the second is that "he's a poet who once released a book of poetry called Anonymous Intimacy."
And somehow, Oliver even managed to get in a jab at GOP nominee Donald Trump. After reading a poem written by Temer that is dedicated to his "muse" — his wife, who is 42 years younger than him — Oliver said, "At least when 70-something American politicians get creepily handsy with 30-something women, they have the decency to do so with their own daughters."
It's safe to say that Oliver did not hold back in this segment.