John Oliver Tackles Paris Attacks with ‘Moment of Premium Cable Profanity’

John Oliver Tackles Paris Terrorist Attack
Courtesy of HBO

While “The Daily Show” has become known for its “Moment of Zen” over the years, one of the show’s most successful alums, John Oliver, chose to go a different route when addressing Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris during Sunday’s episode of his HBO series “Last Week Tonight.”

“We begin with a few words about France, which on Friday suffered the deadliest attack on its soil since World War II,” Oliver began soberly. “It’s hardly been 48 hours, and much is still unknown, but there are a few things we can say for certain. And this is when it actually helps to be on HBO, where those things can we said without restraint, because after the many necessary and appropriate moments of silence, I’d like to offer you a moment of premium cable profanity.”

Oliver then launched into an expletive-riddled tirade against the perpetrators of the deadly bombings, which left 129 people dead and 352 wounded across Paris on Friday.

“So here is where things stand: first, as of now, we know this attack was carried out by gigantic f–ing a–holes; unconscionable, flaming a–holes; possibly working with other f—ing a–holes; definitely working in service of an ideology of pure a–holery,” Oliver said, drawing cheers from the audience. “Second, and this goes almost without saying, f— these a–holes, f— them, if I may say, sideways. And third, it’s important to remember, nothing about what these a–holes are trying to do is going to work. France is going to endure, and I’ll tell you why. If you’re in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good f—ing luck, because go ahead, bring your bankrupt ideology. They’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons, Marcel Proust and the f—ing croquembouche. You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friend. You are f—ed.”

In closing, Oliver said, “So to the people of France, our thoughts are truly with you and I do not doubt there will be more to say on all of this as events unspool.”

On Friday night, late night hosts Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher weighed in on the attacks, and the following day, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” paid tribute to Paris with a somber opening segment.

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  1. THIERRY says:

    I’m French. I can’t laugh, but I can smile. Mr Oliver’s speach is good for all of us because he is free and funny. It’s not silly : the culture answer is a good answer in our case. So don’t give up humour ! I showed this video to my students in courseyesterday.

  2. TERRY says:

    Dont really care what some entertainer who is paid to speak to an audience said when he spoke to his audience. Oliver is a not particularly funny unintelligent generally racist hack who appeals to the lowest common denominator but really has nothing useful or constructive to add. He, like so many other “celebs” & artists is simply using other people’s horror & tragedy to get publicity for themselves. I wish they’d all shut up quite frankly.

  3. James M. Taylor says:

    France has large areas within its cities where police or any other person who in not Muslim is allowed to go. As most Muslims say while they would not be a terrorist themselves or have direct involvement in bombings, beheadings, shootings ect.. BUT, and a huge but, they do support it. What that means is that in the areas that are Muslim only like in France these terrorists have ready made safe havens and bases, as well as sources of intelligence, support of all kinds, protection ect…
    When are we going to understand that we are fighting a real live no kidding war against the entire Muslim world. It was only a tiny percentage that were against all the violence and to me that states things very clearly, they recognize they are at war with is and are using our own institutions against us to great effect. I’m afraid that if we are going to win this war of national survival with them then we are going to be forced to do some very unpleasant things, like the Japanese camps of war two. We can debate, blame, and condem AFTER we ensure our own national survival and way of life. In the meantime in war, all is fair. It’s time we destroy the terrorist groups completly no matter where they are without rules or considerations and as these Isis people have proved there is no thing as an ex terrorist, so we must also destroy everyone who has ever had terrorist connections as well, and this includes bussinesses and businessmen who have ever had dealings with and/or profited by terrorists. My opinion but I’m afraid anything less than an all out response, all out war is doomed to failure and the death of our way of life and culture.

  4. M.Mclean says:

    Wow – ‘Variety’ pushes a piece about commentary on Paris in the aftermath of a multiple shooting & the first thing you HAVE to watch [ because there is no option to avoid the ad ] is CALL OF DUTY :

    tagline : there’s a soldier in us all .. ?

    appalling … unsubscribe.

  5. Non says:

    Does swearing like an idiot really make you sound smarter to young people? All that mess at Missouri State makes more sense to me. They don’t have a coherent argument and whine a lot and whining is the same as making a valid point, now.

    • Ken says:

      Mr. Oliver was articulating the rage we all feel at what happened in Paris…and the anger and fury we feel towards those a-holes responsible for these deplorable crimes. Would you rather have had him use polite language? Some gentle scolding? Perhaps you should take your gentle ears, and switch over to PBS.

    • Florence says:

      You DON’T think that the mass slaughter of innocent civilians is cause for a few f-bombs?

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