Speed Reads


John Oliver cheerfully grimaces at Italy's 'fascinating' upcoming election, throws his own hat in the ring

Italy is holding national elections next Sunday, and if you don't even know who's leading Italy right now, you're not alone, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "This will actually be Italy's 65th government in just over 70 years, so at that rate it's probably hard for Italians to remember who their leader is." But this election is pivotal, "and the run-up to it has been toxic," Oliver said. Everyone should worry that Italy is "dabbling with fascism" again and that another "large European country is teetering on the edge of chaos," he said, but luckily, in the case of Italy's election, "everything about it is fascinating."

Oliver ran through the cast of characters — former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, vying for a comeback; the Five Star movement and its 31-year-old candidate, Luigi Di Maio; Matteo Salvini and his far-right League party ("Oh, I'm sorry, you thought maybe Trump would not pop up in this story? Think again: He is truly the Forrest Gump of human misery"); and — as always — Silvio Berlusconi. "It's true: He's back," Oliver marveled. "Silvio Berlusconi has returned, and the most recent polls actually had his coalition in the lead." Berlusconi is "one of history's most ludicrous humans," he said, and he explained why for a few entertaining and frequently NSFW minutes.

"What I'm saying is, you have to feel for Italy here," Oliver said. "Because the outcomes do not look good. There are a lot of bad options, ranging from an awful prime minister to no outright winner, plunging Italy into political limbo. But wait, because there's actually one more wild card here." Oliver doesn't really have a shot to be Italy's next prime minister, but he sure went through a lot of very entertaining trouble to tick off the boxes. (There is NSFW language throughout.) Watch below. Peter Weber