NBC sent Today‘s Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb to anchor the Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Rio Olympics. And as John Oliver observed on Last Week Tonight, their coverage was a bit depressing.
“The buildup to the Rio Games has been turbulent, with Brazil experiencing a massive recession, protests in the streets and a Zika outbreak,” Oliver said. “On Friday, NBC urged us to forget all that and focus on the Opening Ceremony … The centerpiece of any Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations: that inspirational moment where athletes from around the globe come together, as one, to have Today show anchors point out everything that’s wrong with their countries.”
The announcers ran down a list of awful things that have recently occurred in each country, including Nepal’s “devastating earthquake” and various terrorist attacks in France.
“Holy shit! It is a good thing the anchors don’t behave like that during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Oliver cracked. “There goes Shrek, obviously jaundiced and beset by weight problems stemming from chronic diabetes; here’s Charlie Brown, clearly losing his fight with leukemia; and finally, there is Snoopy, who of course is going to be put down later today.”
Oliver also discussed the ongoing political disarray in Brazil. The country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, was suspended in May on corruption allegations. Rousseff didn’t appear at the Opening Ceremony and her replacement, acting President Michel Temer, was booed and remained mostly hidden during the event.
Oliver poked fun at Temer by reading one of his real-life poems, “Red,” which features the lines, “My body/ On fire/ Consumed/ Dissolved/ Finally/ Ashes are left/ That I spread on the bed/ To sleep.”
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“Now, what is interesting about that poem is nothing. But what is relevant about it is that his muse is his wife, Marcela, who is 42 years younger than him. He is 75. She is 33,” Oliver said, before referencing an infamous embrace between Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka at the RNC. “I’ll say this: At least when 70-something American politicians get creepily handsy with 30-something women, they have the decency to do so with their own daughters. Have some class, Brazil! Have. Some. Class.”