While the main segment dealt with drug doping, host John Oliver and the team at Last Week Tonight began this week's episode by launching straight into a discussion regarding Brexit, as many had hoped. Oliver spoke of the decision that has shaken the world, and “not in Muhammad Ali/Sonny Liston sort of way, but in a those Ikea meatballs contain horse meat sort of way”.
Oliver called out David Cameron, who resigned as Prime Minister in the wake of the referendum results, for having called the in/out referendum in the first place. He also spoke of Nigel Farage, “three time cover model for Punchable Face magazine” and Boris Johnson, “a shaved orangatang with Owen Wilson’s hair”, and their repeated assertions that June 23, the day following the referendum would be Britain’s “Independence Day”.
He then highlighted a fact that many political writers have also mentioned, that it doesn’t seem like the Brexit party had any notions of actually winning. The day following the vote, Brexit leaders backed away from many of the claims they had made leading up to the referendum, including their assertion that the 350 million pounds sent to the European Union would be used to fund their National Health Service instead. When appearing on national television the next day to speak of his victory, Farage called the claims the Leave party made to fund the NHS a “mistake”, which should upset more than a few people who voted based on those claims.
The vote is guaranteed to have a ripple effect reverberating throughout the world, with leaders in Scotland and Northern Ireland thinking about leaving the UK to rejoin the EU, and the EU dealing with their own concerns of other member countries trying to leave. Oliver agreed with the speculation that this may drive the EU to enter into tough negotiations with Britain, in an attempt to make an example out of them.
Oliver also talked about those who seemed to have voted with little understanding of the full issue. Following the close of the poles, Google searches for questions like “what does it mean to leave the EU?” and “what is the EU?” spiked, which is incredibly alarming. He also mentioned the voters who woke up the next day with “voters remorse”, capturing the frustration of many by saying “this wasn’t a fucking practice run…that was it!”
He closed the segment with a caution to voters in the US:
You might think, this is not going to happen to us in America. We’re not going to listen to some ridiculously haired buffoon peddling lies and nativism in the hopes of riding a protest vote into power, well let Britain tell you, it can happen and when it does there are no fucking do-overs.
The main segment was on The Olympics, or “your biannual reminder that NBC exists”.
The segment focused on the doping scandals that have shaken up the games in the past, with this year being no exception. Russia, for example, has been using many covert techniques, from tampering with samples in laboratories to handing out drugs and encouraging their athletes to wash them down with alcohol, in an attempt to shorten the period in which they are detectable.
Of course, doping is nothing new. An anonymous survey taken in 2011 indicated that as many as twenty percent of athletes admitted to doping in the past year, and there have been numerous examples going back decades of similar incidents. This has led to the creation of “anti-doping chaperons” who follow athletes around following the completion of their event until they can be tested, and requiring near instantaneous urine samples from those who have just completed their event. In many cases, the collection of these samples must be witnessed.
While there are many tests and rules that must be followed, there is also ample opportunity to cheat. None of those tests can detect the full range of drugs that can be used, and testing thresholds aren’t perfect. Masking agents and microdoping are also commonly used, making it easy for a number of athletes to slip through the cracks. Even after getting caught, some athletes have come up with incredibly creative excuses, from being intimate many times the prior evening, to eating a pie made from doped up birds, to eating a meal made from uncastrated boars.
The temptation to dope is huge, with there being a number of organizations who benefit financially from incredibly competitive games. The networks, the IOC, and sponsors all receive massive amounts of money from successful athletes. This means that there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to reduce the amount of doping in the field. It often takes just a split second advantage to become one of those athletes who land those lucrative sponsorship deals. There is no sure-fire way to reduce the pressures or temptation to dope nor is there a single governing body dedicated to its prevention, making the problem more prevalent than there are viable solutions.
Oliver ended the segment by putting forth two proposals. If cleaning up sports is truly the goal, the World Anti-Doping Agency needs to be made fully independent, so they have the power to conduct full investigations wherever doping is suspected, and to put pressure on other organizations to crack down on the problem. Or, if cleaning up sports truly isn’t the intention, perhaps those motivational ads you see everywhere in Olympic years need to be a little more accurate. Last Week Tonight closed their final episode until the end of July with one such example.
You can watch the entire doping segment below. Last Week Tonight is taking a brief hiatus (either because life is unfair or because they apparently deserve a vacation too) and will return on July 25 at 11:00pm on HBO.
The United Kingdom: a place whose very name after the events of this week, is beginning to sound a little sarcastic.
[on David Cameron stepping down] Which should make me happy, but in this situation, doesn’t. It’s like catching an ice cream out of the air because a child was hit by a car.
[The UK will leave the EU because]…a pig fucker called for a vote, a bus had some bullshit written on it, and then two idiots named Nigel and Boris quoted President Bill Pullman.
Britain was already independent. In fact, it’s who many countries celebrate their independence from.
[on Donald Trump’s reaction to the vote] If he had just breathed audibly into the microphone the same amount of information would have been conveyed.