In a passioned plea to France, John Oliver used his Last Week Tonight pulpit to warn France not to follow in the USA and UK’s footsteps and not to f*** up.
Referencing America’s controversial POTUS and Brexit, Oliver laid out his argument for France. He ended the segment speaking solely in French with sub-titles, asking for forgiveness for sounding like a Guy Ritchie version of the classic French film, Amelie.
But for many Americans, last night’s edition of Last Week Tonight was a bit of a French political history refresher as Oliver took the Le Pen dynasty to task.
The French election will see a race between left-of-center Emmanuel Macron, and Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front.
In presenting the stage for which Marine Le Pen has risen in political power, Oliver talked about the low ratings of Socialist president François Hollande, hurt by unemployment and recent terrorist attacks under his watch.
Le Pen has a notorious family history in France of which Oliver dived into.
Oliver shared that Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, co-founded the National Front — a party initially created by and for white nationalists.
He also shared how not just the Muslims, but the Jews too, were a despised minority in Jean-Marie’s worldview.
Oliver shared a particularly loathsome quote of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Of Nazi gas chambers, Le Pen was quoted as saying: “We’ll put a batch in the oven next time.”
One of the lesser-discussed shameful historical truths of World War II is that the French state was complicit in aiding Nazi Germany in ridding their country of Jewish people.
In the news recently, Marine Le Pen was quoted as saying: “I don’t think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv.”
The Vel d’Hiv roundup was orchestrated by French police under government direction to detain 13,000 Jews at the Winter Stadium (Vel d’Hiv) in Paris.
She also stated the Vichy regime “was not France”, adding, “I think that generally speaking if there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.”
As imagined, Oliver was apoplectic over the fact this candidate is faring so well in the French polls.
Oliver said: “Please France, I would like to try and convince you not to sit this election out. To do that, let me appeal to your innate French sense of superiority over the US and Britain which is, and it pains me to admit this, not entirely misplaced.
“Real French croissants are buttery pillows of perfection whereas the American cross-sandwich is an ungodly abomination.
“Yet your French wines are magnificent [and] certainly superior to British wines, which tastes like Michael Caine urinated in some grape juice.
“You [all] in France love nothing more than acting like you are better than Britain and America, well now is your chance to prove that because we made populist, nativist choices with Brexit and Trump and to be honest…it’s not working out so great for us so far.
“Now you have a populist nativist choice of your own and just imagine how superior you can feel if you don’t make the same mistake that we did.”
Oliver fretted that the low French voter turnout combined with motivated Le Pen voters (sound familiar?) “could put her in office and that could be bad for a lot of people”.
He also speculated that the presidential election in France could determine the political future of Europe.
In summing up the threat to France, Oliver said: “Whatever the results of this election Le Pen has already dangerously normalized the National Front winning seats at the local level, and even a few in the legislature…and one of the frustrating things about watching this unfold from America is this feels a little like deja vu.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sunday nights at 11:05–11:35pm ET/PT on HBO.