John Oliver tells Stephen Colbert the beauty and terror of becoming a U.S. citizen when America's 'not at its best'

John Oliver and Stephen Colbert
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/The Late Show)

John Oliver recently became a U.S. citizen, and the test he had to pass first was "incredibly nerve-racking," he told Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show. "The first question she asked me was 'What is your phone number?' And I was so scared, I forgot," he said. "It was utterly petrifying. ... There was part of me, even the day of the ceremony, I kind of thought it was going to be a trap. There was a part of me that literally thought they'd open the door and there'd just be plastic sheeting on the ground, like in Goodfellas, and just Jared Kushner sitting there, swivel chair, stroking a hairless cat."

The actual naturalization ceremony was "incredibly moving," Oliver said. "It's odd, as a comedian, you're kind of slightly allergic to sincerity, but it was 150 people from 49 different countries, all of us have been waiting a long time for this — I've been waiting over a decade, there are people who have been waiting for 30 years. So it was a big deal, and there's something very inspiring about the idea of these people choosing America — not just choosing America, but choosing America now, when the country's not at its best."

"Choosing America now is like falling in love with someone who's vomiting all over themselves," Oliver elaborated. "Like, I'm taking a flyer there's a great human being under here. But that is the thing: It was very inspiring to watch people buy into the idea of America, which obviously outlasts any president."

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Colbert and Oliver had a spirited, moderately censored discussion about the American "melting pot" model and Canada's immigration "mosaic," and Oliver explained the amazing season his favorite soccer team, Liverpool, is having in England. They also discussed their mutual disinterest in Prince Harry and Meghan Markel fleeing to America, and Oliver compared the pageantry of Britain's royal family to the Super Bowl halftime show. Watch below. Peter Weber

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