The Daily Show's John Oliver Didn't Really Drop The F-Bomb On John Howard

By now you’ve probably seen the brilliant Daily Show clip showcasing Australia as an example of a country that has implemented effective gun control featuring former Prime Minister John Howard.

The John Oliver report has been doing the rounds on social media since it went to air late last week and Australians are sharing it with unanimous approval.

Mr Howard has seen it now too. He saw it yesterday and found it amusing, and has been interested to learn it’s gone viral, according to a source close to the former PM.

The results of Howard’s action on guns after the Port Arthur massacre – the elimination of mass shootings and a reduction in the use of firearms in homicides and youth suicides, were cited to US gun rights activist Philip Van Cleave as proof that arms control could work.

When this was put to him, Van Cleave dismissed the reduction in mass shootings as statistically insignificant: “But there were so few (shootings before 1996),” Van Cleave responded. “Whoopty do.”

In the segment a stunned Oliver makes “Whoopty do” a refrain through the rest of the clip and at one point, after Howard recites the effects of the ban on automatic weapons, Oliver jokingly replies “Whoopty f–ing do” to his face.

Now for anyone talking to the modest Mr Howard, who wouldn’t exactly have Macklemore on high rotation on iTunes, you might think it pretty unlikely a casual f-bomb would be dropped into the conversation.

And you’d be right. A source close to Mr Howard checked and said the former PM “doesn’t recall the use” of the phrase “Whoopty-f–ing do” during the interview. It appears the comment was digitally stitched in to the clip afterwards.

Vision editors who spoke to Business Insider said the key moment (at about 3m28sec in the clip below) looked clearly edited. The back of Howard’s head is motionless and there’s 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 bit of editing trickery.”

But so what? Or, to borrow a phrase, Whoopty-do. It’s comedy, the gag was edited in for extra laughs in a widely-admired clip. It’s bloody funny, Howard was a good sport for going on in the first place, our source says he’s OK with the editing and it skewers one of the key arguments of the American gun rights activists who bewilderingly insist on the sanctity of the Second Amendment. And Australians are happy that a former PM was central to it.

And for the record, those close to Howard say the Daily Show crew were “very courteous and very grateful” that Howard agreed to the interview.

Here it is again.

John Howard on Gun Control. from John Beohm on Vimeo.

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