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John Oliver Makes Some Hilarious Retractions Involving Alaska, Trains, & More on Last Week Tonight

To our dismay, there was no Last Week Tonight yesterday night. In classic Last Week Tonight manner, however, the HBO show did share a web exclusive instead on their Youtube channel which featured host John Oliver making some hilarious retractions.

“I wanted to take a moment here on the internet to set some things straight,” says Oliver. “Because here at Last Week Tonight we work hard to ensure that everything I say is as accurate as possible but inevitably, despite our diligence, occasional errors do slip through.” Now, the show is pretty great at making sure to cite their sources, but it’s unsurprising that they might miss one or two things. So what kind of mendacity and misinformation did the show disseminate exactly?

Oliver’s first retraction involves the acquisition of Alaska:

“Let me correct a statement I made recently when I said, in error, that the United States purchased Alaska from the grizzly bears for 50 pounds of salmon. That is unexpectedly false. I don’t know how that got by us. Alaska was actually purchased from the Russian Empire in 1867 although it didn’t become a state until 1959.” The host also adds that while Alaska is the least densely populated state, it is not “a wasteland devoid of morality where the boundaries between human and moose are blurry at best, and in many cases, altogether non-existent.”

“That’s not something I said on the air,” says Oliver, “it’s just something I believe in my heart.”

Other retractions include claims about Myspace, trains (that are, apparently, not “buses that fuck”), blue chips, and a collection of fish Oliver previously insulted in “sheer anger”. Oh, and he retracts a retraction too—there’s a lot of retractions happening here.

 Last Week Tonight returns September 9th.

(image: screencap)

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