John Oliver says Boris Johnson's 'bumbling persona' is 'a carefully calibrated act'

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took aim at the new Prime Minister of Britain, Boris Johnson.

“Britain's new leader is a clownish figure with silly hair and a passing relationship with the truth, you may already be thinking of the person you're almost always thinking about anyway, and you are not alone in that,” Oliver said.

While most Americans know Johnson as the “Britain Trump,” Oliver explained that when it came to Johnson, his persona was much more calculated than Trump’s.

”Johnson's bumbling persona is a carefully calibrated act. Take his hair. Multiple people have said he actually messes it up on purpose. A BBC producer tweeted that ‘he'd always ruffle it right before the camera started rolling.’”

In addition to Johnson’s hair strategy, Oliver pointed to the Prime Minister's outlandish style as a trick Johnson used to seem more relatable, and distance himself from his early Oxford days where he was a member of the Bullingdon Club with David Cameron.

“He's cleverly inoculated himself against that image of astonishing privilege by presenting himself as a cartoon Englishman who dresses like a raccoon who just emerged from David Foster Wallace's trash,” he said.

The British comedian referenced a 2013 BBC interview where Johnson shed light on the motivation behind his tactics. He said, “It is often useful to give the slight impression that you are deliberately pretending not to know what is going on because the reality may be that you don't know what is going on but people won't be able to tell the difference.”

Now Oliver is hoping the people of Britain see the difference and no longer look at Johnson's "clumsy Brit persona" the same way.

“Once you see the possibility that his gaffes are, in fact, calculated manipulations, you can't un-see it,” Oliver said.

Last Week Tonight airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

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