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‘Toxic’: Oliver slams Australian SSM debate

BRITISH TV host John Oliver is famous for his take-down comedy and he's just done exactly that with Australia's same-sex marriage debate.

On his show Last Week Tonight, Oliver slammed the weeks of ruthless discussion on whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalised in Australia.

After roasting American politics briefly, Oliver turned his attention Down Under.

"If any of that made you feel sad about our state of democracy, spare a thought for Australia. Not in fact the birthplace of the Outback Steakhouse but very much the Outback Steakhouse of countries," he said.

John Oliver unleashes on Australia's same-sex marriage debate.
John Oliver unleashes on Australia's same-sex marriage debate.

Oliver addressed the Australian government's decision to spend $122 million of taxpayer money on the postal survey which, regardless of the result, is still a non-binding poll.

The British comedian described it as "an odd thing to do because polls already exist showing around two-thirds of Australians support it".

Mimicking former prime minister Bob Hawke's comments on same-sex marriage, who labelled it the "worst economic decision made by any Australian Prime Minister since Federation", Oliver said it had been the "weirdest waste of Australian money since every Baz Luhrmann movie ever made".

Luhrmann has been behind a number of Australian hit movies including Moulin Rouge, Australia and Strictly Ballroom and is well-known for his bedazzled, over-the-top style of films.

Oliver went on to roast the arguments brought up by the No camp.

He showed footage of an interview Liberal MP Kevin Andrews did on Sky News where he peculiarly compared his relationship with friends from his cycling club to the same-sex marriage debate.

"Yeah I mean we do f**k, we finish cycling and we slowly peel our clothes off and we f**k on the side of a bucolic country road. We f**k, but that's not marriage. That's f**king your cycling mates. It's not marriage, it's just f**king. You cycle, you f**k," Oliver said, imitating a bogan Australian accent.

Oliver slammed Sophie York, a lobbyist for Marriage Alliance from the No camp, who said gay marriage should be called "garriage".

"Garriage, that is a stupid word. Except in the very rare case of a wedding between two men named Gary, in which case obviously they should be getting 'garried,'" Oliver joked.

The comedian also brought up the divisive report done by ABC's 7.30 which found a gay couple opposed to legalising same-sex marriage.

"I used to be a supporter of same-sex marriage, I mean I proposed to Ben five years ago," Mark Poidevin said on the show.

However, Ben Rogers, his partner of 15 years told him: "I don't think it's my cup of tea."

"Two things, Ben, you are cold-blooded and Mark you can do so much better than him. You deserve someone who's committed to you, as you are to them ... Don't stay together for the dog, he knows you're unhappy too," Oliver said.

The gay couple opposed to same-sex marriage. Picture: ABC 7.30
The gay couple opposed to same-sex marriage. Picture: ABC 7.30

And of course, it wouldn't be a roasting without bringing up Macklemore's performance at the NRL Grand Final.

At the time, there was a huge backlash, led by former prime minister Tony Abbott, over Macklemore potentially performing Same Love, a song from 2014 advocating for same-sex love.

The song, which is still one of the rapper's biggest hits, sparked an online petition calling for Macklemore to be banned from performing the song at the NRL grand final. He eventually did and the song shot back up to No. 1 on the Australia charts.

"Okay so that is putting me in a bit of a tough position because I do support gay marriage but I refuse to ever say, 'Let Macklemore perform,'" Oliver joked.

Instead, he brought up Meatloaf's performance at the 2011 AFL Grand Final.

A performance only a video could do justice.

But despite Oliver's humorous approach to the whole debate, he admitted it had all "been a dispiriting, ultimately pointless process".

"At the end of the day, I think there are only two good things that could come out of it. One is if Australia's parliament legalises gay marriage at the earliest opportunity and two, that Mark heeds my words and puts himself out there and meets someone that deserves him because Mark you could meet someone who would do anything for love, including that," Oliver says, gesturing to his wedding ring and referring to Meatloaf's hit song.

The same-sex marriage survey closes on November 7.

The fourth weekly ABS update revealed at least 11.9 million people - almost three-quarters of eligible electors - had voted.

Results will be made public on November 15.

Topics:  editors picks john oliver no campaign same-sex marriage ssm



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