John Oliver dares Sky to censor him again | ...but his long anti-Royal argument DOES air © HBO

John Oliver dares Sky to censor him again

...but his long anti-Royal argument DOES air

Sky viewers have finally seen John Oliver talk about the Queen’s death – after he threatened even more disrespectful footage if they censored him again.

The broadcaster cut a section about the Monarchy from his American show Last Week Tonight in the week she died, sparing British viewers his thoughts on the subject.

So when he returned to the topic on his latest episodes, he dared Sky Comedy to censor him again – saying that if they did he would replace the segment with a 25-minute loop of Winston Churchill going backwards down a waterslide set of Benny Hill theme tune.

This time, the section about the Royals, which comprised the main part of the HBO show, went out in the UK as intended.

On air, Oliver said: ‘The Monarchy is clearly in transition at the moment following 10 days of public mourning with a massive line of people queuing to pay their respect.

‘But while some were devastated, others had more complicated feelings… To a degree that Americans may not realise, the Monarchy isn’t a universally beloved institution.’

He showed an interview with two young women who said they were said the Queen had died but also didn’t care as she’d done nothing for them – and footage of Scottish and Irish football fans singing ‘Lizzie’s in a box’ to the tune of Baby Give It Up.

Oliver explained: ‘You can make the case that is in bad taste. You can also make the case that it’s very funny - two things can be true here.’

‘Even we got into trouble when Sky TV in the UK cut a couple of fairly benign jokes that we did when she died.  Who knows if this segment will even air on TV over there?

‘Just in case they refuse, we have actually prepared an alternative show for them where this story is replaced with a 25-minute loop of this video of Winston Churchill going backwards down a waterslide set of Benny Hill theme so they won’t have nothing to watch.’

One of the lines cut from September’s broadcast was that the UK ‘was reeling from the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes’, which the comic later noted was not even a joke, but a fact stated with ‘a kind of dickish inflection’.

On this weekend’s programme, Oliver went on to make the republican case against the Royal Family whose ‘wealth – unlike their gene pool – is massive’

 ‘They’re like a human appendix. We’ve long evolved past needing them and there’s a compelling case for their surgical removal,’ Oliver said – but conceded that he was in the minority of Brits.

But he said even if the Monarchy was to remain there was a ‘long-overdue conversation that really needs to be had’ about the Royal Family’s role and legacy.

Oliver highlighted some of the ‘brutal atrocities’ carried out by the British such as the crushing of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya during the Queen’s reign, and how her ancestors were involved in the transatlantic slave trade under the Stuarts.

He argued that the Royals needed to acknowledge and apologise for the miseries inflicted by colonialism in their name, concluding: ‘They’ve worked hard to be perceived as a mere symbol without taking responsibility for what that symbol excused.

‘Far too often they hind behind the convenient shield of politeness and manners, which frequently demands the silence of anyone who might criticise them or what they stand for.

‘Will this segment even air on Sky TV in Britain? I honestly don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. But if they do cut it out for being disrespectful, they might seriously think about why.

‘Why they and everybody else is working so hard not to offend a family whose name was branded into people’s skin, and who sit atop a pile of stolen wealth and who wear crowns adorned with other country’s treasures.’

• Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs on Sky Comedy on Mondays at 11pm.

Published: 15 Nov 2022

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