John Oliver Finally Watched The Video Of Tony Abbott Eating An Onion At His Sydney Show Last Night, And It Was Perfect

He somehow hadn't seen it before. "WHY DID HE EAT THE SECOND ONE??"

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I can’t think of one concert or performance I’ve been to that had me proclaiming, “You know what my favourite part of tonight was? The Q&A session with the audience!”. If anything, ‘Let’s open the floor up for questions’ has become code for, ‘You may now slowly make your way towards the exit in the hopes of beating the rest of these suckers back to the parking station’.

I didn’t know that a brief Q&A session was on the cards last night, at comedian John Oliver’s final of six Australian shows across Melbourne and Sydney — and I definitely wouldn’t have predicted that the brief session would contain what many would describe as the best moment of the whole show.

Inside a sold out State Theatre, which Oliver described as “a Liberace fever dream”, we were treated to a solid hour and something of material that was both inspired by Oliver’s last few days in our country (he opened by tearing into Melbourne’s Operation Fortitude debacle), and his experiences living in New York and travelling through the USA. The extremely funny show ended with rapturous applause, as Oliver gleefully knocked the comedian stool that NOONE EVER SITS ON to the ground, and made his way off stage. The applause continued for a mere five seconds before Oliver was back onstage, where he righted the stool, and made his way back to the microphone stand.

The thrill of a surprise encore was quickly dampened when he asked the crowd if there were any questions. Oliver’s attempts at crowd participation earlier in the show were enthusiastic but grim. Mere minutes after Oliver accused Australia of being the most comfortably racist country on earth, he asked what the weirdest thing from Sydney’s past is that people don’t like to remember, and someone shouted back “Blacktown!” — met with the sound of half the room facepalming.

I didn’t hold high hopes for how this night was about to end.

A quick few questions related to recent happenings on Oliver’s HBO show Last Week Tonight were yelled from the mezzanine, about his new religion ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption’ and whether his joked-about made-up historical facts book Stranger Than Fiction was actually real (short answer: no). Things were actually off to a pretty good start. But they were about to get better. 

“Did you see the video of Tony Abbott eating an onion?” boomed a voice over the top of the many other considerably less important questions.

“Wait, what?” Oliver responded, his voice trembling with laughter. “Tony Abbott ate an onion?”

Almost the entire crowd immediately shouted back, with a mix of pride and embarrassment: “TWICE!

As Oliver continued laughing in disbelief, an angel in the crowd handed Oliver his phone with the #oniongate video playing on loop — and everyone in The State Theatre sat back in joy as John Oliver witnessed our nation’s Prime Minister eating a raw onion for the first time.

Keeled over with laughter, Oliver dropped to his knees, at a loss for words momentarily before screaming, “WHY DID HE EAT THE SECOND ONE?! Does he lack object permanence? … ‘Oh, that one also looks like an onion, I wonder if it is one’?”

The last question levelled at him was “Have you ever loved?”, which Oliver proclaimed to be the best he’d ever been asked. He left the stage with some parting wisdom: “Thankyou for having me! Please do not eat onions!”

Watching a comedian at the top of his game put on a show like this is obviously a treat — but it’s so much more special to see something truly spontaneous. I’d like to give a medal to the guy who asked about #oniongate, for ensuring that Oliver’s last show in Australia ended in a spectacular fashion — and for ensuring we’ll be seeing a video of Tony Abbott eating a fucking raw onion on Last Week Tonight in the near future.

Andrew Levins is a DJ, promoter, the director of Heaps Decent, and the author of a cookbook, Diner. Find him at his website or on Twitter — and subscribe to his podcast, Hey Fam, here.