John Oliver is probably one of my favourite comedians. Along with Frankie Boyle, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, I can always rely on him to make me laugh as well as inform. Whether he be attacking tobacco companies, Fox News or televangelists, he attracts an incredible audience. However, his continual attacks on our government, funny as they are, are showing a very sad reality. New Zealand is turning into a comedic laughing stock under National.
Don’t get me wrong for a second, I’m very happy Oliver is calling out the stupidity of John Key and other leading figures in the National Party. It’s absolutely brilliant to see, whether they be American, British, Australian or Kiwi, Oliver holds no bars, from tobacco lobbyists to televangelists to Fox News. But when you think about it, is it necessarily a good thing that New Zealand’s government is making late night comedy in one of the biggest countries in the West?
Last Week Tonight is extremely popular. It has a 9.2 rating on IMBD and has garnered millions of views in America alone over its three seasons with its most viewed episode raking in 1.45 million people tuning in, the equivalent of over a quarter of our population. That’s a call for massive concern with regards to our reputation.
New Zealand’s overseas reputation mainly revolves around Middle-Earth and the All Blacks as well as our “clean and green” image, also under threat from National’s deals with oil giants. Our online image is currently tainted by the fact our media was trolled by Cassidy Boon, fictional character of Canadian webcam pornstar Jennifer Fox (background discovered by Aussie YouTuber Marcus Dibble). When people think New Zealand, do we really want Americans or other potential visitors thinking of a bald man getting hit with a dildo or a creep who pulls women’s hair as Prime Minister?
If you answered yes, you can obviously see my issue. Yes, these people are being called out for stupidity but yet, it humiliates us on a national level. The people of this country elected these people into office and even if you are a left winger like me and my fellow contributors, they represent us and they will continue to until we vote them out. The National party are not national leaders, they are an international laughing stock.
I’m not saying we should boycott John Oliver at all. I actually think he deserves to be honored for services to journalism. But I just want you to keep this in mind next time Johnny boy and his crew screw up on Last Week Tonight. What they do won’t just impact on them, it will impact us too.