Returning to The Daily Show’s brilliant series on gun control, we reported last week on how John Howard had “no recollection” of intrepid reporter John Oliver saying “Whoopty-f–ing do” to the former Australian prime minister’s face.
But Oliver insists, in a segment on the latest edition of his podcast The Bugle, that he did drop the f-bomb on Mr Howard. In fact he says he “dropped it right on his f–ing head”.
Down the page, in the spirit of right of reply, is the transcript of Oliver’s response to the original article. He says: “this is a question of integrity. I resent the implication that I have any.” As audio format letters to the editor go, it’s a pearler, so we are happy to publish it in full.
First a quick recap. The series, which features Mr Howard explaining Australia’s success in tackling gun crime after the Port Arthur massacre – including the elimination of mass shootings and a reduction in homicides involving firearms – has been huge hit in Down Under, going viral and being shared with unanimous approval on social networks.
And no wonder – it uses, to devastating effect, the success of Howard’s gun crackdown to embarrass America’s gun rights lobby and the perplexing insistence that firearms controls don’t work.
A spokesman for the former PM confirmed this morning that when Howard was asked about it last week, “he said he can’t recall them using that word in the interview”.
Vision editors Business Insider spoke to said the moment where Oliver drops the f-bomb appeared to have been digitally altered. You can watch it here.
Separately a spokesperson for The Daily Show has issued us the following statement, which certainly counts among the more bizarre press responses to come across this reporter’s desk: “Confirming that Oliver did say Whoopdyf&*%do during his interview with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Was not edited in separately.”
So it has emerged is there are conflicting accounts of what happened. One is from a highly successful career politician who was leader of Australia for 11 years and was appointed a Member of the Order of Merit by the Queen. The other’s from a gifted comedian on a world-renowned TV show who, among other career highlights, once starred in a movie as a character called Dick Pants.
Howard is known to have hearing difficulties which may be a potential explanation but an unlikely one. Sources close to him say that after the interview Howard never made any comments that there was anything inappropriate and that the atmosphere was very cordial.
And ultimately, as noted last week, this doesn’t matter. The phrase “Whoopty-f—ing do” is perfect for the circumstances. The series is great comedy, even better satire, and Howard is happy to have participated. It’s probably best left as a case of agree-to-disagree between The Daily Show and Mr Howard.
Here’s the transcript from Oliver’s segment on The Bugle – the audio is embedded at the foot of the page, but you might not want to play it without headphones in the office.
There is yet another issue to correct regarding my ongoing hot-and-cold relationship with the entire nation of Australia.
For a while back there Andy, it seemed that I was back in Australia’s good books. The pieces about gun control have apparently been going viral around Australia, getting half a million clicks on one website in just a few days.
Then Andy, came the doubters. Not a surprise; I believe it was Mao Tse Tung who said: “Haters gonna hate”.
One Australian paper ran a story this week with a headline saying The Daily Show’s John Oliver Didn’t Really Drop The F-Bomb On John Howard.’
This caught my eye, because I distinctly remember that I did drop the f-bomb Andy, I dropped it right on his f—ing head.
The article reads:
“A source close to Mr Howard checked, and said the former prime minister doesn’t recall the use of the phrase “Whoopty-f—ing do” during the interview. It appears the comment was digitally stitched into the clip afterwards.
“Video editors who spoke to Business Insider said that the key moment, at about three minutes 28 seconds into the clip, looked clearly edited.
“The back of Howard’s head is motionless and there is no reaction when Oliver drops the F-bomb.
“‘It’s been composed for sure,’ said one film producer at a digital agency, ‘it’s a big of editing trickery’.
Hey: F—k you, unnamed digital agency!
And just for the record, I am saying that right now, not digitally stitching it in afterwards.
I refuse to be treated like the JFK assassination tape.
And as for the quote, “the former prime minister doesn’t recall the use of the phrase whoopty-f–ing do” during the interview. Oh he remembers, Andy.
Just as I remember his face in the seconds after I said it.
Because I’m guessing from his reaction it’s the first time he’s had someone say whoopty f–ing do, during an interview. Or indeed, in any scenario.
Andy: Come on John, George W. Bush must have said it in the build up to [the] Iraq [war].
John: Yeah maybe. Maybe. You’ll do it, whoopty-f–ing do!
Here’s why all this hurts, this is a question of integrity. I resent the implication that I have any. If you don’t think I’m enough of an arsehole to say “whoopty-f–ing do” to the face of someone who for over a decade was a major world leader, well, you don’t know me at all.
It is attempted character assassination on me Andy, and it won’t work because you can’t assassinate the character of someone who doesn’t have one.
Take your best shot. I’m a moral husk.
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO (the segment is at the start):