It’s been a bit of a week for John Oliver and the crew at Last Week Tonight, what with the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed against them by Bob Murray and company, and what better way to cap off a winning week than with a deep-dive into the bleak state of Italian politics, ahead of the country’s parliamentary election amidst a rise in nationalist sentiment? Fun.
The second episode of Last Week Tonight’s fifth season delved back into the deep end of European politics for the first time since its stellar examination of last year’s French presidential election and Britain’s bungling of Brexit (all hail Lord Buckethead). Very similar to those movements, there is a rising tide of anti-immigrant, fascist voices within Italy as the country approaches a voting day on which the nation will install its “65th government in just over 70 years.” From the rise of Five Star, a political party started by a comedian that is fueled more by anger than any policy, to far-right Matteo Salvini of The League, a man who advocates for “a mass cleaning, even, in Italy,” to the return of disgraced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, there isn’t much to root for in a nation full of political and economic uncertainty. Even the Centrist former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is left to only wish his homeland “good luck.”
At least Oliver found the silver lining in some glorious old footage of both Renzi and Saldini on Italian game shows. Nothing like watching someone get booed by an entire studio audience while playing Italian Wheel of Fortune.
While this week’s episode does paint a downcast political picture within a large European power, it does so with the same laughing-into-the-abyss style that has become a staple of the show.
Check out some sweet game show and political lambasting below.