Both the gloves and the mittens are off in the war of words between British comedian John Oliver and and Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, and Trinidad and Tobago netizens haven't laughed so much since this whole debacle started.
Towards the end of May, the US Department of Justice announced the indictment of several current and past FIFA officials, of which Warner is one, on a staggering number of counts of financial impropriety, including wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
The attention of the world soon turned to the twin island republic, from which Warner hails and where he has been been firmly rooted for the past several years. Passionate football fan John Oliver, who hosts a late night show on American TV channel HBO, had been training his comedic guns on FIFA's allegedly corrupt practices long before the arrests in Zurich happened almost a month ago. Naturally, Warner was comedic fodder that was too good to pass up.
On June 9, Oliver booked a five-minute time slot on Trinidad and Tobago's TV6, in response to a video by Warner that the station had aired a few days prior, in which he cautioned that he would reveal evidence linked to his involvement in FIFA's financial activities. Oliver made a plea to Warner to stop “blueball[ing] the entire planet” and make good on his threat.
Warner's reaction was predictable. Most netizens expected him to post a video response to Oliver and he did not disappoint. In fact, many thought he managed to unintentionally trump Oliver in terms of comedic content. Last night, on his show, Oliver hit back — and if Trinbagonians thought that his first attempt at Jack-baiting was mild, Oliver certainly redeemed himself. The bit was on target and uproariously funny.
In response to Jack Warner calling him a “comedian fool”, Oliver says:
Wait…comedian fool? That's not an insult…that's literally my business card!
I have to ask…what was that music behind you? We didn't add that…it was in the original, and believe me, it continued to build! […] He is really good at making videos because that music makes anything sound better! […] I'll tell you one thing that Jack Warner is definitely not guilty of and that is overthinking his music choices.
The comedian also apologised to Trinidad and Tobago for getting them stuck in the middle of a feud that really should have been between himself and Warner. In a clever comedic twist, he does to Tobago (the smaller of the twin islands) what Tobagonians have long accused Trinidad of routinely doing — treating them with disdain:
And listen, Trinidad, I am sorry you got dragged into this. You're an amazing country. Tobago…not so much.
On Facebook, Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde responded:
And the beat goes on. Jack Still giving John Oliver material. Hope the Tobagonians get his satire and don't take it personally.
With a dramatic dip in lighting and epic music of his own, Oliver's segment then got down to brass tacks as he delivered another message to the beleaguered ex-FIFA bigwig:
Mr. Warner, we meet again old friend. It is I, the comedian fool. Jack, we're a lot alike, you and I. We both know this music makes anything we say sound a lot more impressive than it actually is, and we both have our flaws. People have said I'm not a good listener, for example, just as I've said that you diverted 750,000 dollars in Haiti relief funds into a bank account you controlled. And sure, we may dispute those charges, but my point is, neither of us is perfect.
So to you I say this, Jack: If you really want to continue to trade shit-talking videos with increasingly high production elements, then consider your challenge accepted, my friend. Because you have magnificent music under yours…well played. Well, I see your music choice and I raise you…fire! [Cue the pyrotechnics.]
Your move, Jack…your move. Either respond to me by this time next week with a more spectacular video than this or I will accept your gracious defeat.
Twitter was all over it:
— Eyebalz (@Eyeballsio) June 15, 2015
Trinidadian Spicy Crispy George had this to say:
— Spicy Crispy George (@30daysnFebruary) June 15, 2015
Jack Warner faces a slew of charges as well as possible extradition to the United States; he and his legal team clearly have other battles to fight, but the Trinidad and Tobago blogosphere is keen on finding out whether or not Warner will respond, once again, to the “comedian fool”.