John Oliver's Last Week Tonight

One of my favorite things to do is to watch the HBO show "Last Week Tonight". The show is a comedy news program hosted by comedian John Oliver.

An advertising poster for the comedy news show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver sitting to the right of the title text

The show has been on for something like 7 seasons, which goes to show just how awesome and enjoyable it is.

You can watch the whole episodes by subscribing to HBO through your cable provider or HBO GO as a standalone streaming service. I don't do either of those things. I watch content from the show via the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel.

Their YouTube channel has little clips from the episodes, but it offers the main course from each episode. Each episode of the show starts with John talking about the week's current events in very short form, and ends with the majority of the program talking about one topic. That ending/main topic is available on YouTube.

For each episode, a specific topic is chosen, one that is usually focusing on abuse of power or a poorly devised system or a dictator or some bad-guy current event figure or just generally something with a problem in the way that it is. John Oliver then presents, in comedic fashion, the background facts and context for that subject, followed by some suggested solutions to the problem. Often the problem is so large or systemic that it can't really be solved by an individuals actions, but the suggestion of solutions is helpful.

The subject for each presentation is often something that you would never consider yourself or think to look into. They start out very lightheartedly and proceed to provide you with angering information about wrongdoing. It continues to build, telling you more and more unsettling information, to the point that you might feel hopeless that the situation can ever improve, and then John Oliver usually finishes up by telling you what can be done to fix things. Even in episodes where there isn't a solution to the problem suggested, he goes to great lengths to insult the bad person or thing, just so that something is different for his having covered the subject.

One example of that is when John Oliver talked about Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the president/dictator of Turkmenistan, and all the bad he does in his country and in his dealings with the rest of the world. The guy is a pretty big piece of garbage. But after telling you all the bad stuff he does, there isn't really a solution to suggest to you. What are any of us going to do about some dictator in another country? In the presentation we learn that Berdimuhamedov loves to earn Guiness Book of World Records records and he loves horses to a disturbing degree. He also was bucked off of his favorite horse while racing in a very public stadium, which really embarrassed him. John Oliver combined all of these details to seriously poke fun at the autocrat. He had a world record sized (largest sheet cake ever made) cake made that had a photo of Berdimuhamedov being bucked off his horse printed on it.

Clearly that didn't make anything better in the world, but it was funny and kind of stuck it to the dictator, if he even saw the episode.

John Oliver has made fun of the fact that his show often stresses downer and depressing subjects, and without his application of humor would be an unpleasantly sad show.

He has covered so many topics, things like Sheriffs, Xi Jinping, Opioids, Mobile Homes, Brexit, Felony Disenfranchisement, President Trump, Floods, and the NRA. So many topics. The last 5 episodes have covered the topic of the Coronavirus and Covid-19. He has been quarantined in his house because of the stay-at-home orders and has filmed them in isolation in his home.

So far there are 6 Coronavirus themed episodes.

The Last Week Tonight news show is by far my favorite news source and the new episode releases each week are something I always look forward to. Watching this show is one of my favorite things to do. The episodes are funny and entertaining, but they are also really educational and can keep you informed of current events.

I highly recommend this show! Give it a go!

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