We Have The Audio Of John Oliver’s Reaction To The Tony Abbott Onion Video, And It’s Hilarious

We live in an age of wonders.

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Last night, two truly beautiful things came into contact for the first time: the legendary video of Tony Abbott biting into a raw, unpeeled onion like a delicious cupcake, and John Oliver’s constantly growing amazement that Tony Abbott exists.

During a Q&A session with the audience towards the end of Oliver’s set at Sydney’s State Theatre last night, Sydney local and upcoming Australian of the Year David Potter asked Oliver what he thought about the onion video. Oliver had never heard of it, and his unfolding reactions as he watched it on an audience member’s phone was a moment of pure, unalloyed joy everyone in that room will carry with them forever.


Speaking to Junkee, Potter said he’s “still ludicrously excited that what happened happened” and was surprised Oliver hadn’t heard about the video when he asked.

“We got a look of confusion, as if to say ‘People eat onions all the time, what of it?’, but it slowly transformed into disbelieving delight as the true gravity of our Prime Minister’s weirdness dawned on him. We saw the same look of impish delight with which Oliver, and also Jon Stewart, had greeted Trump’s announcement that he was running for President,” Potter said.

“It was an unexpected gift of the kind of A-grade material that turns comedians into excited kids unwrapping shit on Christmas morning. Thank heavens for the guy who leapt up and handed John his smartphone, because that took what was already a highlight of an amazing show and turned it into something fucking legendary.”

“For now, I’m just excited by what Oliver is going to do with Oniongate now that he knows about it. He came here, and he beheld our nation’s shame in all its weird skin-devouring half-nodding glory,” Potter said.

And to put the icing on this glorious onion-cake, Potter managed to record the entire exchange as it happened in the State Theatre. It’s pretty grainy and you have to turn the volume up, and obviously there’s no video, but imagining what’s happening to John Oliver’s face as his voice becomes steadily more bewildered and upset is a source of true warmth and comfort in this otherwise cold and barren world.

Like all of us when we first saw the video, Oliver went through the classic five stages of onion-based grief.

First, denial: “He ate an onion like a two-year-old eats an onion, thinking: ‘it’s round and I’ve seen round apples. Is this an apple?’ No. He did not do that.”

Next, anger: “He ate TWO?! Get the fuck out.”

Bargaining came soon after. While there is no audio of it, it’s safe to assume that during this stage Oliver silently asked whatever higher entity may exist to erase the experience from his memory in exchange for spiritual support from his church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

Predictably given the nature of the video, bargaining was followed by despair: “The skin was on it. What’s he doing? Why does he eat the second one?”

Finally, acceptance: “He needs constant supervision!”

Skip to 1:00 in for when it gets good.

Truly, we are blessed.