Brow Beat

John Oliver Eviscerates Birds in Three-Minute, Profanity-Laced Takedown

Last Week Tonight is still on hiatus, but on Sunday night, John Oliver used his weekly web exclusive to rant about, of all things, birds. Oliver, who objects to the species’ practice of migrating south for the winter, railed against the specific faults he finds with ostriches, geese, and parrots in a profanity-laden tirade that will surely ruffle some feathers in the avian community. “I’m supposed to like parrots just because they can talk?” asked Oliver. “Basically every human being talks, and I hate most of them.”


Though Oliver’s outburst lasted only a few minutes, Slate has managed to obtain an exclusive full transcript of the Last Week Tonight host’s original speech, including remarks that didn’t make the final cut:

When Mexico sends its birds, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending birds that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing mites. They’re bringing flu. They’re murderers. And some, I assume, are good birds.

I would build a Great Cage, and nobody builds cages better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great cage on our southern border and I will have the birds pay for that cage, mark my words.

While Oliver was careful to clarify that his comments didn’t apply to all birds—some of his best friends are penguins—that will likely do little to appease ornithologists or birds’ rights activists who may be offended by his harsh words.

Jonathan Franzen could not be reached for comment.