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Last Week Tonight was on break over the Fourth of July – or, as John Oliver calls it, “The Day of Colonial Aggression” – but HBO's British satirist couldn’t resist a chance to get his Independence Day digs in. In a web-exclusive, Oliver takes aim at the most patriotic of targets: fireworks.

“We in America love fireworks,” he says. “They’re like sparkly guns you can shoot at the sky.” Promising to cover every fireworks display in the past week, Oliver proceeds to break down the ins and outs of each and every event.

“Parking was a nightmare,” he laments. “There were several spots that looked like spots, but then were not spots.”

At high schools across the nation, the fatigue of navigating the hordes of late-night hooligans drove once happily-married couples towards divorce, there were lots of red, white and blue fireworks and screams of terror from pets and children alike. And of course, classical music played (“Everything seems like a cultural event when there’s classical music playing”).

“Everyone then applauded, like the fireworks were about to take a bow,” Oliver jabs. “Then they all stood up, walked back to their terrible parking spots and then made the silent agreement not to think about fireworks until the next Fourth of July – when they perform the exact same ritual again.”

Oliver’s got something of a history making fun of American traditions, but this is his first time touching on the Fourth. (Though he was guest-hosting The Daily Show last summer, the show was on hiatus during the first two weeks of July.)

After this clip, though, we can’t say we don’t know how he feels – nor can we disagree with him. Only he can so perfectly summarize what makes America great: “The ability to wholeheartedly embrace excitement while letting disappointment and failure slip away as quick as you can.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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