John Oliver was a bit puzzled that his reference on HBO’s Last Week Tonight to the “shocking” death of Queen Elizabeth II was censored by Sky television in the UK. Or at least that’s what he told Seth Meyers last night on NBC’s Late Night.
With more than a little comic disingenuousness, Oliver insisted that his censored comment – he’d said that the UK “was reeling from the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes” – wasn’t even a joke, but merely a fact stated with “a kind of dickish inflection.”
“And yet they cut it out,” Oliver continued, “which is pretty shitty because apparently all we’ve heard all week is the queen had this incredible sense of humor. Just nonstop – Oh, she was so funny. Seth, she was so funny. The queen, she was razor sharp.” Both Oliver and Meyers then teased the commentators who insisted, repeatedly, that the Queen was a laugh riot.
Said Oliver about the oft-aired clip in which Queen Elizabeth shared marmalade sandwiches with Paddington Bear, “I’m watching a bear carry her comedically in a scene. She’s giving that bear nothing back.”
As Deadline reported last week, UK pay TV service Sky cut portions of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver over the tongue-in-cheek comments. Angered viewers took to social media to question why two segments had been dropped from the British version of the HBO satire show, which followed the UK royal’s passing last Thursday.
The comments in question came in a post-opening credits segment. During this, Oliver lampooned several unexpected social media tributes to the Queen from the likes of cartoon character The Crazy Frog and Dominos Pizza, saying: “Obviously, we have to start with the UK, which is clearly still reeling from the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes. It is a big moment this week and for some reason absolutely everyone felt they had to wade in on [it].”
In another comment minutes later, Oliver responded to new UK leader Liz Truss’ praise of profit-making companies by saying: “The nicest thing the Queen of England ever did for anyone was die the week that woman became Prime Minister. Because for at least a week, she’s not going to be getting justifiably destroyed for answers like that.”
Watch Oliver’s segment with Meyers above.