Speed Reads


John Oliver celebrates Trump's defeat, recaps the 'absolute year of a week' it happened

The 2020 election "was clearly a very long, very tense week, although thankfully, it all felt worth it due to how it ended," an uncharacteristically upbeat John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight: Donald Trump "isn't going to be president anymore." People took to the streets to celebrate in cities across America, he noted, and in New York "there was a mood here that can only be described as reverse 9/11. Why? Because it combined complete euphoria, an abiding disgust for Rudy Giuliani, and this time people were actually dancing on the rooftops in New Jersey."

"It is genuinely hard to overstate the level of relief that has been flying around parts of this country, especially at the end of a truly draining week, and tonight we thought it might be worth mapping out exactly how we got to this point over the last seven days," Oliver said. He started with the predictably slow ballot count, Trump's "nightmarish speech from the White House" early Wednesday, and his camp's subsequent attempts to do "absolutely everything they could think of to subvert this election," including rampant "conspiracy theorizing" and a flurry of "ridiculous" lawsuits in multiple states to try to "cast a cloud over the whole process." Still, he said, "perhaps the single most pathetic part of this week is that in the moments before this race was called on Saturday morning, Trump tweeted out 'I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!'"

"But here is the really important thing: After this absolute year of a week — the days of counting, the misinformation, the desperate, pathetic attempts to paint this process as fraudulent — the fact is, Trump lost this election," Oliver said. "He lost. All that bulls--t which we've grown accustomed to seeing work, did not work this time. And it's not like Trump and his family are going to stop — they're gonna carry on grifting and lying like they've always done. But once he's out of the White House, it's just not going to have the same effect anymore. It's not going to directly impact every American's life."

Oliver did touch on America's forthcoming reckoning with "what Trumpism is going to mean going forward" and note that Democrats also face questions after they "didn't get anything they hoped for." But he also took a minute — well, 30 seconds — just to celebrate, and it involves octopuses, and it's NSFW. Watch below. Peter Weber