On this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver takes a look at the Miss America pageant and asks, “How the f*ck is this still happening?”
Showing archival footage of the pageant, dating back to the days when women were awarded points on the “construction of the head” and “torso,” Oliver explained that the pageant officials were using “code” to avoid admitting the obvious.
Oliver noted that beauty pageants are only relevant these days when viral clips are shared, such as the infamous response given by Miss South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant, which has received over 61 million views on YouTube.
Oliver gave contestant Caitlin Upton credit, saying, “To be fair, the question she was asked was ‘Can you do an impression of a dictionary in a washing machine,’ and she nailed that.”
Calling the Miss America Pageant a classier organization than their competitors, Oliver noted that the Miss USA pageant is owned by Donald Trump, “a clown made of mummified foreskin and cotton candy.”
Oliver added that it is ironic that the Miss USA pageant is “owned by one of the ugliest souls on the planet.”
The host saved the bulk of his commentary for the Miss America Pageant organization’s claim of being “the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women.”
Noting the Miss America Foundation’s assertion that they “make available $45 million in scholarships,” the Last Week Tonight staff researched the public tax filings of the non-profit and discovered that they only awarded $482,000 in scholarship money in 2012.
“Leaving us a mere 44 and a half million dollars short of what they say they provide, “Oliver said. “And at this point, we really had a clear choice: we could have just thought ‘sure, the number don’t really add up, but it’s only Miss America, who really gives a shit?’ or we could pull the tax forms from every state level competition in the country because this was starting to drive us f*cking insane.”
What the staffers discovered was some elaborate word play, hinging on the foundation’s use of the expression: “making available.”
Watch the video below from Last Week Tonight to see how: