News & Politics

DC Children Will Sing John Oliver’s Pro-Statehood Song on Capitol Hill

The pro-DC statehood of the “50 States” song that premiered last Sunday on HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver will get a public performance this coming Sunday on Capitol Hill if enough District parents can encourage their children to learn the pointed, slightly dirty lyrics in time.

The sing-along, which is scheduled for 10 AM, is being organized by many of the same parents of the kids who participated in the Great Sled Uprising of March 5, which triggered the end of Congress’s long-standing ban on sledding down the west side of Capitol Hill.

As most features on Last Week Tonight do, John Oliver’s 17-minute rant about the District’s standing as the only capital of an industrialized democracy where residents lack the same representation as their fellow countrymen has been a viral hit. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has also said she will show it to her colleagues when Congress returns from its summer vacation.

For now, the sing-along’s planners need to fill out their chorus. They’ll go through “several rounds” of warm-ups so everyone can learn the lyrics, followed by at least one full performance for tourists to take in. (And, obviously, it’ll be recorded and posted online, too.)

So far, it’s the parents who seem most excited, though some report their kids are getting into it. “My daughter is really enjoying the part where she gets to say ‘asshole’,” says Tim Krepp, a local tour guide. “But in the interests of full disclosure, she’s really far more curious about needle exchanges now.”

Statehood advocates undoubtedly hope singing children will be as persuasive as their sledding counterparts.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.