Popular HBO Show Host Takes on Fargo’s City Commission

A city of about 120,000 was thrust into the national spotlight on HBO

FARGO, ND — A popular HBO show host decided to poke fun at Fargo last night.

In an episode about economic development, John Oliver used Fargo as an example, but he wasn’t exactly flattering.

A city of about 120,000 was thrust into the national spotlight on HBO.

“Take a look at Fargo, North Dakota,” Oliver said in the segment.  As soon as the words left his mouth, a slide whistle sound effect was heard, with Oliver following it with “You know what? He’s not wrong.”

Oliver had an episode about economic development in his news satire show called “Last Week Tonight.”

For about 30 seconds, he took a jab at the Fargo City Commission’s vote to give FedEx a tax incentive for moving air operations to Fargo in 2016.

As a city commissioner, Tony Gehrig expects to be on local television often, but this was new.

“When I woke up, I had a bunch of comments and videos that were sent to me,” Gehrig said. “I thought it was a joke, quite frankly.”

The tax incentive passed with a 3 – 2 vote, which at the time, shocked Commissioner Gehrig, who voted no.

“I’ve always said you don’t blame the companies for asking,” Gehrig said. “You blame the government for giving it.”

Oliver didn’t stop at FedEx when mocking the great white north.

“If someone wants to willingly move to Fargo, you don’t offer them tax incentives,” Oliver continued in the segment. “You simply offer them a full psychological work-up that starts with the question, ‘who did you murder? We’ll still let you live here, but we do need to know.'”

“It’s kind of ridiculous,” said Kyle, who lives in Fargo.

“It seems to be the general perception,” admitted Theodore, who also lives in Fargo.

“Unfortunately, I think the movie and the TV show have kind of led to that,” Kyle added.

Part of these murderous stereotypes come from the movie “Fargo” which, by the way, wasn’t filmed in the city.

The movie also didn’t actually take place in the city of Fargo, but that being said, we do still keep the famous woodchipper around.

“I have been here approximately 36 hours,” said Alana, who is from Melbourne, Australia. “I’m from Australia. It’s really cold here, so I completely agree with what he’s saying. Apparently it gets colder!”

This isn’t the first time Oliver’s picked on us.

In 2015, he had an entire episode about North Dakota’s oil industry.

He mentioned the “Be Nice” billboards and responded by buying his own which said “Be Angry.”

This started a billboard battle between local advertisers and Oliver.

“John Oliver, if you were to come to Fargo, you would see what a great place it is,” Gehrig said.

We reached out to HBO publicists but they declined requests for interview.

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