John Oliver Recaps the 21st Century for the Coming Cicada Swarm


For the first time since 1999, the northeastern U.S. is bracing itself for a summer ruined by cicadas, giant nasty bugs that come out of hiding every 17 years to mate. John Oliver, thoughtful and empathetic human that he is, realized that, between the smartphones, climate change, and Beyoncé, the bugs returning from Cicadafest ’99 might not recognize the world they’ve come back to. So, in an off-week web segment, Oliver prepared a short presentation to get them “up to speed” on politics, sports, technology and culture.

Explained in terms a person from 1999 would understand, the world is a very weird place now. Between “the curly haired guy from NSYNC” and “the lead singer from Destiny Child” ascending to become pop music royalty, the rise of the YouTube unboxing video, and the fact that Boston Red Sox aren’t historic losers, this culture is not a place that the denizens of 1999 would recognize.

Personally, I would’ve been fine leaving the cicadas to figure their own stuff out — they are G-R-O-S-S — but I respect the gesture.