Looking forward to ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’
When I heard that Stephen Colbert would be taking over for David Letterman, I was both happy for him and completely devastated. I live for The Colbert Report. The nightly block of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report has become a staple for me. I can’t live with just one satirical news show! Thankfully, HBO handed us a little gift in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
On the premiere episode, Oliver tackled Obamacare glitches in Oregon, the dual canonization of popes John XXIII and John Paul II, our lack of knowledge about the Indian election, the “characterizing flavor” of pomegranate juice, and the “rough week for unrepentant racists and recording devices” with Clippers owner Donald Sterling and crazy ass Cliven Bundy.
Much like his stint as Daily Show host during Stewart’s absence to direct his first film, Oliver proved that he has what it takes to give us hilarious news satire—and because it’s HBO, he can do it with some f-bombs. Oliver’s delivery, while still snarky, has a different style than Stewart and Colbert. There’s a playfulness to him that makes even the most insane news stories funny. It doesn’t seem grim, doesn’t leave you horrified at the state of the world, but makes you laugh at the ridiculousness of the news media without preaching about the stories themselves.
The show, which airs once a week instead of daily, promises to give us another entry into the late night news satire realm. The weekly airing is a good choice because it allows the show to sum up the week’s events instead of lingering on every story, every day. We get our breaking news from the internet, so once-a-week roasting of that news is a formula that works. We know the stories, now let’s hear someone rip on their coverage.
They also skip on guest interviews, which can occasionally drag down the pace of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. It’s easy to get bored with eighty zillion authors desperately trying to plug their books, and a guest who doesn’t have a razor sharp wit can throw a curveball into the fast-paced Comedy Central “fake” news environment. Oliver’s show presents us only what we came to see: a funny guy with a funny take on the news.
With Colbert departing for CBS pastures, I’m looking forward to adding Last Week Tonight to my satirical news diet.