Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 7, Episode 2 - Modi - full transcript

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Season VII
Episode 2

Welcome to Last Week Tonight.

I'm John Oliver. Thank you
so much for joining us.

Just time
for a quick recap of the week,

which has been dominated
by Donald Trump airing his grievances

with the justice system
for its treatment of Roger Stone,

with intelligence officials for warning
that Russia tries to get him re-elected

and, for some reason,
with the Oscars from two weeks ago.

And the winner
is a movie from South Korea.

What the hell was that all about ?
Was it good ? I don't know.

Y'know, I'm looking for like...

Can we get, like,
"Gone With The Wind" back, please ?

Of course Trump
loves "Gone With The Wind".

He likes his movies
like he likes his rallies:

excruciatingly long, incredibly racist,
and centered around a rich creep

who leaves a woman
crying in a mansion.

Of course he likes it,
it's so on brand.

Instead of getting
sucked into Trumps world,

instead, let's move on
to the Democratic primary,

a fun contest where the winner
gets a new nickname from the president

before ultimately losing
the Electoral College.

While the end of this week brought
Sanders another primary victory,

much of the media's attention
was focused on someone else.

We've been talking about Bloomberg's
candidacy for president.

We're all here
talking about Mike Bloomberg.

Everybody's been talking
about Bloomberg.

You hear voters saying:

"This guy says he can beat Trump
and he's got the money to do it."

They kind of like dating Pete,
they like dating Amy,

but they like the guy who can take them
to the prom in the best looking gown,

and the biggest flowers,
and that's Bloomberg.

What are you talking about ?
That is such a creepy thing to say !

Although just for the record,

nobody is hoping that Mike Bloomberg
will take them to the prom.

I get why you might confuse him
with a prom date,

he's awkward,
looks uncomfortable in a suit,

and he's a virgin.

I know he technically
has two daughters,

but that doesn't change the fact that
Bloomberg has big virgin energy.

It is true that Bloomberg
has been getting a lot of attention.

And before his horrendous,
flop-sweat-laden display

at his first debate on Wednesday,

one poll put him in second
place behind Bernie Sanders.

Even if he drops in the polls,
don't expect him to go away soon.

He doesn't have to. He's personally
spent more than $400 million,

mostly on ads,
in the last few months.

Google and Facebook have served up
2 billion Bloomberg ads,

which has worked out
to roughly 30 000 a minute.

You can't have missed them,
they're absolutely everywhere.

At this point, they are genuinely
hard to av... What the fuck ?

There's one right now !
How did you get here ?

You should not be here !
Get out of here.

I didn't ask for you.
Get out of here !


For all the things that you might
like about Bloomberg,

his funding of gun control
and climate change initiatives,

there is much more to dislike.

Let's start with the fact that
he is truly charisma impaired,

as you can see in campaign
videos like this one,

and I have to tell you,
I promise, this is the entire thing.

Where's my ice cream ?
Thank you.

Big Gay Ice Cream is the best.


I don't know what's grosser,

watching Bloomberg desperately
pander to gay voters

or watching him mechanically eat
a spoonful of ice cream and say...

Like an alien wearing a human suit
who's trying to fit in at a Cold Stone.

To combat that personality problem,

Bloomberg has poured a ton of money
into buying credibility online.

His campaign is paying
popular Instagram accounts

to create memes like these to make him
seem like the fun candidate.

Here's just one example:

an image of Danny DeVito labeled:
"Trump's bank account"

and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
labeled: "Bloomberg's bank account".

Bloomberg's campaign has been paying
for sponsored content

on popular Instagram meme
accounts like grapejuiceboys,

fuckjerry and shitheadsteve.

And I, for one,
am incredibly disappointed.

For so many years, shitheadsteve
was a bastion of editorial integrity

in the meme landscape.

I don't know
if I can ever even look

at another of his memes
the same way now.

Even this recent classic,
a photo of a plane reading:

"Longer, Larger, Fart" and captioned
"When you have diahrea" misspelled.

It loses some of its magic.

It's still funny and smart and good
and above all necessary.

But shitheadsteve
is just tainted for me now.

All this spending cannot and should not
paper over Bloomberg's past.

Not just his long history of sexist,
racist comments.

For those of us
who live in New York,

his true legacy was the massive
expansion of stop-and-frisk,

a policy empowering
police to stop, question

and search anyone they suspected
of involvement in criminal activity.

While Bloomberg was mayor, the police
recorded over 5 million of these stops.

In 2011 alone there were
nearly 700 000 of them

and that's in a city
of just over eight million people.

For some communities, it was
a decade of constant harassment.

Frustrated by how often he was being
stopped in his Harlem neighborhood,

a 16-year old son of a cop named Alvin

says he hit record on his iPod
one night in 2011.

Why you pushing me like that for ?

As two undercover
officers approached.

We look for suspicious behavior.
When you keep looking at us...

Y'all always like stop...
I got stopped 2 blocks away.

When you're walking the block with
your hood up and keep looking back,

we think
you might have something.

- Do you want to go to jail ?
- What for ? For what ?

- Shut your f...g mouth, kid !
- What am I getting arrested for ?

For being a f...g mutt.

That is obviously awful.
And I do know that people of color

have been dealing
with shit like that forever

and don't need their experience
validated by somebody like me,

who is so white he looks like the ghost
of a stork who died of a milk overdose

while listening
to "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me !"

I know what I am.
But this policy was appalling

and fell disproportionately
on black and Latino New Yorkers,

who were the target of over
80 percent of the stops at its peak,

something for which Bloomberg
was completely unrepentant.

They just keep saying:

"It's a disproportionate percentage
of a particular ethnic group."

That may be, but it's not
a disproportionate percentage

of those who witnesses and victims
describe as committing the murder.

In that case, incidentally,
I think we disproportionately stop

whites too much
and minorities too little.

Okay, I get it.

So, the only problem was that
you weren't racial profiling enough.

To put that in a way that Bloomberg
thinks young people would understand,

this meme compares how
big of an asshole Bloomberg was,

versus how big of an asshole
Bloomberg wishes he had been.

And despite him claiming
that it made the city safer,

the crime rate dropped even
after the policy was curtailed.

Stop-and-frisk was harmful
and unnecessary.

While Bloomberg apologized for it,
he only did it last November,

days before he launched
his presidential campaign.

He does not seem to understand

why people
are so suspicious about that timing.

The mark of a intelligent,
competent person

is when they make a mistake,
they have the guts to stand up and say:

"I made a mistake,
I'm sorry."

We don't question your belief
that you made a mistake.

The question is the timing that you
realized you made the mistake.

Nobody asked me about it until
I started running for president.

So, come on.

Yeah, come on, Gayle ! Mike Bloomberg
was just minding his own business,

doing nothing illegal, and you started
shaking him down out of nowhere ?

It's wrong, Gayle.

As soon as he had something to gain
from apologizing, he did !

And he did it like a man,
begrudgingly and once.

It is kind of amazing that Bloomberg
seems to think that his money

can make people
forget about all of this.

Hopefully, the more people talk about
him now, the more they'll discover

how unpalatable he is.

If I may put this in terms
that Bloomberg enjoys,

let's hope that
this woman is the presidency,

this guy is Mike Bloomberg
and this is everyone else going:

"Don't even fucking think
about it." And now this.

Larry King Wants To Know
Everything About His Guests.

- Show your binging on right now ?
- "Temptation Island."

- An animal you wish you could talk to.
- I guess a dolphin.

Who is your childhood celebrity crush ?

First thing you do when
you get out of bed in the morning ?

What's a piece of technology
you don't get ?

Who would you like
to play you in a biopic ?

Where's a place
we'd find you on your day off ?

Three things you'd bring with you
to a desert island ?

What's the biggest difference
between the US and Canada ?

What's the biggest difference between
America and Scotland ?

What's the best thing
about living in the U.K. ?

When do you feel most free ?
What's your guilty pleasure ?

What pisses you off ?

Is there something you long believed
to be true and then realized wasn't ?

How do people who do a podcast know
how many people are listening ?

What's the most challenging
style of dance to perform ?

Favorite fashion risk taker ?

Tell me something people
don't know about Nick Kroll.

A queen who didn't win Drag Race
but should have ?

Who's your favorite bad ass bitch ?
Do you like oatmeal ?

Moving on.

Our main story
tonight concerns India.

It just narrowly beats out America
as the country

where a 20-minute lecture
in this accent is the least welcome.

India is preparing for a very important
visitor who is arriving tomorrow.

Donald Trump's first visit to India
will be a special one.

He will be accompanied by
the First Lady Melania Trump.

Many are wondering if they will
make an unscheduled visit

to the Taj Mahal,
the enduring symbol of love.

Why wouldn't they do that ?
What makes you think

this happy couple would not want
to visit an enduring symbol of love ?

Every trip is a honeymoon
for these two lovebirds. Couple goals.

Trump's first state visit
to India begins tomorrow.

And at the center of it will be
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

a man for whom Trump seems
to have a great deal of affection.

Listen to him talk about Modi when
they met up last September.

He's a great gentleman
and a great leader.

And I remember India before.
Now, not intimately,

but I remember India before
and it was very torn.

There was a lot of dissension,
a lot of fighting.

He brought it all together,
like a father would bring it together.

Maybe he's the father of India.

We'll call him "the father of India".
I think that's not so bad.

Yeah, that's not so bad, is it ?
You know what a father is, right ?

It's a guy who brings the family
together by giving them lots of money

but never emotional validation.

That means the remainder of your life
is spent in a series of grasping quests

for recognition and unconditional love
from everyone around you

and if anyone doesn't love you enough,
you hate them and want them to die.

This life is like being in a boat made
of friends who think you're the best

and anyone who doesn't think
that is a small hole in your boat

and it lets the water in,
you sink below the waves,

and there's nothing left but you,
drowning in the silent, screaming abyss

that your father bestowed to you
as your birthright.

Modi is like that for India.
You know, a father.

A daddy.
But calling Modi the "Father of India"

is completely inappropriate,
for multiple reasons,

not the least of which is that
there's a certain Gandhi

who already holds
that exact fucking title.

Which is not to say
that Modi is not popular. He is.

He was recently overwhelmingly
re-elected for a second five-year term,

his rallies often feature supporters
wearing masks of his face.

While I do get that that is
intended as a show of support,

please don't ever come to this
show and do that.

That is literally my nightmare.

Modi's cult of personality
extends well beyond India.

You may be aware of him as one of the
most aggressive huggers in the world,

or from his charming appearance on
"Man vs. Wild" with Bear Grylls.

Here we go...

If you wondered if there's elephant.
There is definitely elephant.

Have a smell.
That's good honest...

It's now fertilizer.

And when it is really fresh. And it's
really wet, straight out of the anus.

Once in Africa
I squeezed it like this...

And all the juice... Because it was
almost sterile. But not today.

I know that seems gross, but remember,
that dung is straight out of the anus.

Nothing better
than elephant dung

when it's fresh from the butthole,
direct from the rectum,

still convalescin'
from the small intestine.

I am ride or die for
Team Straight From The Anus,

none of that processed
elephant dung,

none of that "I Can't Believe It's Not
From An Elephant's Anus !" nonsense

and certainly
not Stevia's Elephant Dung.

I know it has less calories
than anus dung

but it tastes like shit
in exactly the wrong way.

While Modi may have charmed
Bear Grylls, the world,

and our current president,

within India, he's an increasingly
controversial figure.

His government has pursued

a steadily-escalating persecution
of religious minorities,

persecution so intense
that for the last two months,

Indians across the country have been
taking to the streets in anger.

On Sunday in New Delhi,
the protests turned violent.

Police fired tear gas
and clashed with students,

who accused officers
of indiscriminate violence.

At least a hundred were injured.
Protestors torched public buses.

Burnt-out buses generally aren't a sign
that people are happy with you.

It's the gesture that says:

"You suck so hard I don't even
care how I get home."

And if citizens
in the world's largest democracy,

home to over a billion people,

are either wearing masks of Modi
or marching in the streets,

it seems like tonight it might be
worth exploring why that is,

where things could be heading

and why calling Modi
"The Father of India"

is stupid at best
and dangerous at worst.

Let's start by acknowledging
Modi's significant appeal.

He has an inspirational personal
story. He grew up poor

and rose from selling tea on railway
platforms in Gujarat

to running that state, and,
eventually, the entire country.

His election in 2014 was actually
the subject of our very first show,

back when he looked the same
and I looked 30 years younger.

If this is happening because
someone is slowly poisoning me,

please do it faster.

Modi ran as a populist
and since becoming prime minister,

has taken one big swing after another,

often with the goal
of improving the lives of the poor.

He's had some success.

He's delivered new cooking gas
connections to 72 million poor families

and he fulfilled a campaign promise
to build over 110 million toilets.

Which is a big deal. That addressed
a major public health hazard.

So much so that,
a few years back,

UNICEF India launched a campaign
called "Take Your Poo To The Loo".

First thing in the morning,
what do I see ?

A pile of shit, staring at me.
I close my eyes, I step away.

No matter where I go,
there's no getting away.

Let's take the poo to the loo.

Yes, exactly !
That is catchy.

That is my new favorite song.
And it will remain so

until the inevitable "Take Your Poo
To The Old Town Road" remix.

And then that will be my favorite.

But Modi has had
some big swing-and-misses, too,

like during his first term,

when he decided to fight corruption
and money laundering

by cancelling some of the most
commonly used bank notes in India,

with just four hours' notice.

Which went about as well
as you might expect.

Today as banks open for the first time
since the surprise announcement,

there was chaos.

People lined up for hours
to change their money,

some had to be turned away
because the banks just ran out cash.

They are not giving us money.

They keep telling me:
"Come on Monday."

I've been standing in the queue
for three days now

and I haven't gotten any money.

Yeah, that's ridiculous,
and an entirely predictable consequence

of announcing,
without any warning,

that 86 percent of Indian money
was no longer money.

Think about what would happen here
if Trump suddenly announced that,

as of midnight, every 10
and $20 bill is worthless.

It would be complete mayhem !
Republicans would defend it,

the Supreme Court would uphold it
and within two weeks,

people would be holding up signs
denouncing money at Trump rallies,

'cause that's the fucking world
we seem to live in now.

Modi's policy was a mess.
It caused complete chaos

and it didn't even make
a dent in corruption.

Yet, incredibly, it didn't make him
any less popular.

That is actually
one of Modi's greatest strengths:

his charisma is such that he somehow
evades public anger sticking to him,

which is a very
dangerous superpower,

especially when you consider how
extreme one of his defining beliefs is.

Modi is a Hindu nationalist
and at the core of that

is a belief that India
is a fundamentally Hindu nation,

which is provocative,

given that India's founders,
Gandhi and Nehru,

explicitly disavowed that,
with Gandhi saying:

"The State should
undoubtedly be secular."

Yet, throughout his career,
Modi's party, the BJP, has served

as political arm of a hardcore Hindu
nationalist paramilitary group, RSS.

I know that I've just thrown
a lot of letters at you there,

but if there is one thing that I'd like
you to know about the RSS

and, by extension Modi's party,
it is this.

The RSS was formed in 1925
by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar

with the purpose
of creating a Hindu unity.

Early leaders such as M.S. Golwalkar
admired Adolf Hitler

and the Nazi movement for steps
taken to ensure, quote:

"the purity of the race
and its culture."

That is true ! The founders
of the RSS admired Hitler

for ensuring
"the purity of the race."

Which is just not a chill thing
to admire Hitler for.

There is one and only one thing
that it's okay to admire Hitler for

and it's the fact
that he killed Hitler.

Everyone talks a big game
when it comes to killing Hitler,

but to be fair, Hitler is the only one
who stepped up and got it done

and for that I say:
"Way to go, Hitler !"

All the other Hitlering that Hitler
did: thumbs down.

But that very last bitler of Hitler:
thumbs up.

Do not take that image
out of context !

It is extremely worrying to have
a prime minister with that association.

Especially because India has
always struggled to strike a balance

between its ideals of tolerance
and the reality of religious tensions,

which have erupted
multiple times over the years.

Modi himself was right at the center
of one of those eruptions.

In 2002, violent riots broke out
along sectarian lines across Gujarat,

killing more than a thousand people,
mostly Muslims.

Modi oversaw all of this,
as head of the state,

and is blamed for doing nothing
to stop the violence.

The US revoked the leader's visa
over the incidents in 2005.

And that is not good. And what
somehow makes it even worse

is that Modi has offered at most tepid
apologies for his actions back then,

once even walking out of an interview

when asked if he regretted
that the killings happened.

Which is just not okay.

When you are being asked about your
role in the deaths of thousands,

you simply don't get to walk out
of an interview.

That kind of behavior is reserved for
Adam Driver in an NPR interview

about "Marriage Story",
and that is only because

Adam Driver can do
whatever the fuck he wants.

Step on my throat, Adam Driver,
you rudely large man.

Break my fingers,
you brooding mountain.

Modi has employed a similar tactic
of strategic quiet as prime minister.

He doesn't talk much
about religious minorities,

but those closest to him
are comfortable saying a lot.

India is home to the second largest
population of Muslims on earth

and many members of the BJP
have openly targeted them.

When it came time for Modi
and his party to appoint

a chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,
that's home to 200 million people,

they chose Yogi Adityanath,
a man who has said things like this.

Hindus and Muslims
are two different cultures,

these two cannot coexist.

If they kill one Hindu
then we will also kill 100 of them.

Holy shit. That is not even
dog whistle islamophobia,

that's basically just writing:
"We hate Muslims" on a dog

and then throwing that dog
at the nearest Muslim.

That rhetoric is an affront
to everything that India stands for.

Gandhi and Nehru, founders of modern
India, stood for religious pluralism,

meaning they encouraged
the coexistence of diverse faiths.

You may need to remember that,
because Modi and his party

are now actively trying to erase
whole sections of India's history.

Nehru has been edited out of some
history textbooks altogether.

What has been added to the curriculum
is pretty eye-catching.

In June 2014,
the Gujarat government introduced

a set of 10 textbooks
for primary schools.

Most lessons revolve around
the idea of Indian supremacy.

On page 22 of a book

there's a very interesting story
about how God created the world.

He was making bread and he took it
out of the oven too early

and that's how white people
were created.

The second time around,
he left it in the oven too long,

and that's how negroes were born,
the book uses the word "negro".

The last time around he learned
from his two previous mistakes

and took the bread out just in time
and that's how Indians were created.

There is clearly a lot wrong with that,

but, for starters: that's just not
how white people were created.

I don't want to get too technical,
but white people were created

when a sale at Kohl's fucked a true
crime podcast.

That's how it happened.
I'm not gonna go into it anymore,

but that is our origin story
right there.

And look this isn't...
Stop it !

This isn't just a cultural battle.
Since winning reelection,

Modi has moved from quiet
support for religious intolerance,

to concrete action
and in classic Modi fashion,

he's done it with a big swing.

Remember those protests
I showed you earlier ?

They were sparked
by a very controversial act.

The government's planning to publish
a nationwide register of citizens.

Everyone would be forced to provide
documents to prove they're Indian.

Those who can't, would be
considered illegal immigrants.

Only non-Muslims would be protected
under the new citizenship law.

It's true. Modi and his party
may be about to strip

millions of Muslims of citizenship

and they did it in a diabolically
clever two-step way.

They announced they'd be rolling out
a national register of citizens, NRC,

everyone would provide documents
proving they were Indian citizens,

something that many, particularly
the poor or illiterate, do not have.

That alone did not target Muslims,
but here is the second part.

Modi's government also introduced
the Citizenship Amendment Bill, CAB,

which granted citizenship
to undocumented people

if they were from any religious
minority but Muslims.

NRC kicks everyone who's
undocumented off the citizenship rolls.

And the CAB lets everyone back on,
except Muslims.

They're basically Marie Kondo-ing India

and it's only Muslims
that don't seem to spark joy in them.

While Modi has insisted that in no way
is his intent to target Muslims,

his closest confidante and basic
second-in-command, Amit Shah,

has been unambiguous

about what the combination of these
two steps is designed to do.

Through CAB, we will give citizenship
to all the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist,

Jain, Christian refugees.

After that, pay attention, friends.
We'll implement NRC.

Should we throw out
the infiltrators or not ?

The infiltrators are sucking the blood
of this country like parasites.

"Infiltrators are sucking
our blood like parasites."

Remember, Amit Shah
is basically Modi's right hand.

If you don't disavow what your right
hand is doing, that is then on you.

If Kermit the Frog told you
the Lindbergh Baby had it coming,

you might go: "Jim, are you gonna
say something about this ?"

"You're not ?
What is wrong with you, Jim ?"

"Stop the frog saying this stuff.
You have the power to do that !"

These citizenship laws have had
a huge impact across India,

with many terrified,
especially as the government

is now building detention camps
for all the illegal immigrants

they are creating.

There is a cruel irony for some
of those building the camps.

It's a detention camp in the making,

about 450 laborers working on
its construction since December.

Among them, Nayaz Ali, who might end
up living here once it's completed.

I am very worried because my name
didn't come up in the list of NRC.

I don't know
what will happen next.

I work here during the day
and think about my future at night.

That man is building a detention
center that he may end up inside.

That is the most nauseating thing
that I have seen tonight,

and I'll remind you
that just 16 minutes ago,

I showed you a man squeezing fresh
elephant shit into his own mouth.

All of this is really dangerous.

And I'd say that this atmosphere
could get someone killed,

but it already has.

Since Modi came to power,

there has been an overall rise
in attacks against minorities.

And it is incredibly depressing
to see India heading in this direction.

The only glimmer of hope here

is that, for perhaps the first time
in Modi's whole career,

his actions are creating a massive
and sustained backlash.

Even as Trump shows up
to hail him for uniting India,

the protests against him
are very much ongoing.

While Modi has tried to paint them
as the work of Muslim extremists,

the protestors come from
a wide range of backgrounds,

united by a single argument.

The idea behind the act is so vicious
that every thinking human being,

everyone in this country will be
affected and therefore is standing up.

Hindu, Muslims, everybody are equal.
We want that equality.

I'm a Hindu
but I'm an Indian first.

When it comes to the values
of secularism given by the India,

when it comes to the ideas
of foundations of India,

then no matter what,
I should be in that...

I should preserve the constitutional
values, which is the utmost priority.

And that is genuinely inspiring.

When you see moments like that,

you begin to hope that Trump
might actually be right in a way

about the man
that he's about to visit,

just not in the exact way
that he thinks.

When he says that Modi
is bringing India together,

with any luck,
the thing that unites them

may end up being their disgust
over what he is trying to do.

India, home of this
enduring symbol of love,

deserves a lot more than this
temporary symbol of hate.

And now this.

Larry King Wants His Guests
To Know One Thing About Him.

- A food you can't stand ?
- Liver ?

- I hate eggs.
- You hate eggs ? No.

- I hate eggs.
- You hate eggs ?

I must have had a bad thing
when a kid. I can't even look at them.

- I hate eggs.
- Eggs can be tough.

I hate eggs for some reason.

I hate eggs.
I hate eggs and fish, I don't know why.

I didn't know this.

- I hate eggs. I don't...
- Do you hate eggs ?

I already told you
that I hate eggs. I hate eggs.

You hate eggs ?
I love eggs.

That's our show, thanks for watching.
See you next week. Goodnight !