BY JOEY SWEENEY
So your city has been clowned by the harshest/most-fact-checked serial burner in America! Owie. Well, here in Philadelphia, we know how that feels. Why, if it wasn’t for the charter school schemes and DNC and civil forfeiture here in Philly, you meddling kids never would have been the wiser! We kid: In all actuality, Philly is a food truck festival’s worth of corruption with ne’er-do-wells lurking in every hammock on every rooftop bar that used to be a school. And it was only a matter of time before someone noticed. That it was Mr. Oliver who noticed your sorry town is both an honor and a real testament to the fact that so often, nobody else is even looking. With that in mind, some handy advice to get you through when one day, it happens to you — if only because sooner or later, John Oliver is bound to run out of Philadelphia. (Probably later.)
1. Relax, and let your defenses down. We know you probably think that your city is the best city and anyone who disagrees is a big jerk. Please, avoid this tendency. Where you live probably sucks. That’s just numbers. Even if not, what good will it do you to get angry, at this point? Suck it up, here comes the burn unit.
2. Forgive the occasionally pedestrian stock jokes about your city. Boy, can we speak to this: Here in Philly, we’ve got the cheesesteak jokes, the batteries-at-Santa legend and a Rocky rainbow of garbage that we’re never, ever gonna live down. And comedians have lots of minutes to fill and if you’ve got a tight 30 to do every week like John Oliver does, you better believe he’s gonna put some whiz on that. So do what noted backhair wig model and sports commentator Ed Rendell does: Embrace it. Eat the hoagie lest the hoagie eat you.
3. Listen to what is actually being said. Week in and week out, Last Week Tonight is perhaps the biggest fact-bomb on television. Only Rachel Maddow tops Oliver for sheer geekery. If your home city’s bullshit has made it to the 11pm Sunday night slot on HBO, you best believe there’s a reason for it. What you hear may shock you in its news-to-you-ness, but here’s another fact-bomb: If it does shock you in this way, that’s probably because your local newspaper either went under or laid off whoever used to report on the boring local government shit.
4. Grieve a little. The place you love is fucked, son. And it just got clowned, hard and true. That’s sad. Just let yourself feel that, though; it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
5. Accept the home truths that are on offer, and, if you can bear it, see their purpose as possible tools for change. Because, hey, Oliver does get results, kinda. But also look within: Did you see what Philly did with that towing scam just yesterday? We social-media howled it straight to Action News and the Attorney General’s office (if we still have one of those, check Last Week Tonight to make positively sure.) Imagine if we put the energy we put into parking into some shit that actually matters. IT COULD BE LIKE CANADA HERE!
All of this is to say, when the HBO (Hooty Brit Owl) comes-a-knockin’: Lay down and take it. Don’t piss and whine and certainly don’t counterpunch, because no one, at the end of the day, no one can outpunch facts. Not a salty Brit, nor a spilly winebox bag full of self-tanner that has tiny hands that can only beat off and rearrange facts. No, friends, John Oliver harshing on your city is an act of love. Accept it as such.