John Oliver devoted part of Sunday’s Last Week Tonight to the way corporations and public figures observed International Women’s Day, which ranged from awkward to full-on appalling.
Several brands tried to honor the holiday last week with female-centric wordplay: McDonald’s turned its classic golden arches upside down (“I guess the ‘M’ is for ‘men’ the rest of the time,” Oliver joked). Brawny ran a “Who’s Your Shero” campaign. “We consulted with some linguistics experts, and it turns out there’s already a word for ‘women’s heroes,’ and it’s the word ‘heroes,'” said Oliver. “It’s a little like the word ‘sheroes’ – only it’s not stupid, and it is a word.”
Numerous male newscasters marked the occasion with disturbing on-air behavior – from inappropriate jokes to flirting with female co-anchors. Oliver highlighted one anchor’s “pervy” comments about Salma Hayek, which occurred during a segment on Mattel’s “Inspiring Women” doll of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (whom Hayek portrayed on film).
The host closed by mentioning a weird moment from Boris Johnson, “[the U.K.’s] Foreign Secretary and dumpy Swedish Beatle,” who visited school children and told them, unprompted, about Egyptian ruler Cleopatra’s suicide via asp bite.
“What are you doing?” Oliver replied. “I would happily watch hours of Boris Johnson explaining grim endings to distracted children. So then Sara loses her mind; Harry has his arm amputated; and Marion performs a sex show for drugs. And that was the end of Requiem for a Dream, children.”