John Oliver to FCC chairman: Prove you're not a dingo

Insisting he'd only compared the FCC's Tom Wheeler to a dingo, the comedian says Wheeler is being too defensive about claiming not to be one.

Chris Matyszczyk

A resemblance? Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We are but one step from hearing the word "Dingogate."

On Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler -- when asked about comedian John Oliver's searing critique of his role in the Net neutrality debate -- chose to declare that he isn't a dingo.

Indeed, he claimed to not even have known what one is.

On last night's "Last Week Tonight" show, Oliver worried that this denial was suspiciously defensive.

He insisted that he hadn't called Wheeler a dingo, but had merely compared him to one.

Indeed, he had described last year's appointment of Wheeler, a former cable industry lobbyist as "the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo."

Of Wheeler's dingo denial, Oliver said: "That's exactly what a dingo would say if he didn't want anyone to know he was a dingo."

He then produced a disturbing split-screen image of Wheeler and a dingo and claimed there was merely shaving keeping the two apart.

"Have you, at any time, ever consumed a swamp-wallaby for its nutrients?" demanded Oliver.

So now the comedian wants a document, signed by a zoologist, to prove that Wheeler isn't, in fact, a dingo.

Some have pointed out that Oliver's commentary on Net neutrality isn't entirely factual. There is plenty of evidence of a two-speed Internet already, not least to ensure that HBO's own shows can be watched online with reasonable crispness.

However, Wheeler's attempt to offer a touch of (presumed) humor merely fed the ravenous coyotes who write Oliver's scripts.