Whenever The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart had to report on a tragedy like Friday’s terrorist attacks on Paris, he would temporarily drop the jokes and speak candidly. Serious Jon was a little jarring to watch, at least the first couple of times, and that successfully conveyed the gravity of situation.
Happy election day, Canada! Congratulations on learning that today is Canadian election day, America! Here’s John Oliver explaining Canada’s three main political parties and making a last-minute plea to our friends to the north to dump “dickhead” conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.
North Dakota: home to a dangerous, loosely-policed oil industry that the state government attracted by being so darn friendly (to businesses). Taxes are low and regulation is “reasonable” (basically nonexistent)—what a state.
In the wake of yet another mass shooting at a U.S. school, it’s time for America to have one of its all-too-infrequent conversations about mental health. On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver looked into what we’re actually doing to help people with mental illness, and learned it’s pretty much nothing except prison. Great. Good start.
With hundreds of thousands of migrants headed to Europe from Syria and Iraq, reactions have ranged from reluctant acceptance (Germany) to outright, vicious racism (Slovakia, Poland, Fox News). As ever, John Oliver used Last Week Tonight to put a human face on the latest shitty, depressing thing people are doing to one another, and the face of the refugee crisis is a cool Syrian teen named Noujain Mustaffa.
In the fair, just, and wise United States legal system, arrested individuals who are unable to pay for an attorney will have one provided to them at no cost. Americans can sleep well knowing we’re not animals who would make the neediest amongst us face the full resources of the state without a trained advocate. Just kidding! Here’s John Oliver to explain why the right to an attorney is basically just a mythical unicorn that farts apple-cinnamon rainbows.
It’s Labor Day, which means millions of students will be returning to school this week to try to remember the rote knowledge they’re sure to forget by next summer. Luckily for them, John Oliver took a brief break from Last Week Tonight’s current hiatus to share his own back-to-school crib notes, covering key topics like math, geography and presidential penis nicknames.
We’re in between Daily Show hosts, Stephen Colbert’s Late Night hasn’t started yet, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is on a break until mid-September. So what are we supposed to do with our—oh, hey, John Oliver made a pointless web video about his upcoming book.
Televangelists didn’t disappear in the ‘80s—there are actually more of them than ever. They ask for private planes and piles of money from people who can’t actually afford it in exchange for vague and ephemeral promises of future prosperity and health. Fuck ‘em, says John Oliver.
For the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver tried to find out what American kids are learning in sex ed, and discovered that the answer is that no one really knows, because many states have no official standards—in some cases, the information kids get isn’t even required to be medically accurate. Many other states have just one standard: abstinence only. Basically, whether you learned what consent is or how to use a condom depends on which high school you happened to go to.
In America, we throw out more than a third of our food, an insane 730 football stadiums worth every year. That’s up by about 50 percent since the ‘70s. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans are hungry. John Oliver spent last night’s Last Week Tonight looking into the causes of this ugly state of affairs.
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight was off this weekend for the Fourth of July, so in lieu of his usual 15-minute “deep dive” into a complex topic, he posted this rapid-fire series of shallow dives into: bagels, seagulls, and shit.
Marriage is now attainable for all, regardless of who they love, but an estimated 700,000 transgender Americans still face daily, legal discrimination. Yesterday on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver went in on the idiots who promote that discrimination—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not not—saying it’s pretty simple to figure out what to call a transgender person: you call them whatever they want to be called.
Twenty years after it entered the mainstream, the internet has delivered on its promise to make basically everything faster and more convenient: doing research, buying stuff, arranging to meet up with your “kayaking friends,” and harassing women until they consider suicide. On Last Week Tonight Sunday, John Oliver considered the heavily gendered crisis of online harassment, and the glaring lack of any legal framework for stopping it.
Rick Astley scholar John Oliver devoted a lengthy segment of last night’s Last Week Tonight to the topic of assholes on the internet, online harassment, and the woefully ineffective law enforcement options for those dealing with revenge porn and online threats.
Dame Helen Mirren, Oscar-winning queen, brings a comforting gravitas and a timeless sexiness to every project she undertakes, and always deploys them as the job requires. You might say she’s extremely effective at what she does. Know what’s not very effective, though? That’s correct: torture.
Jack Warner, the Trinidadian ex-FIFA official who was recently arrested for alleged bribe-taking as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s crackdown on soccer corruption, brazenly took out an ad in FIFA’s defense last week on Trinidad TV. John Oliver, who’s been following the scandal closely, bought some time of his own to respond.
Chicken: We love it! Chicken production in the U.S. has doubled over the past 25 years, to 160 million chickens every week. That makes it sound like it’s a great time to be a chicken grower, but John Oliver explained Sunday night that it is most assuredly not.
John Oliver used his Mother’s Day episode of Last Week Tonight to point out that, although American companies and lawmakers love to be seen celebrating moms, their appreciation doesn’t extend to giving women paid time off after giving birth. The U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only countries without any guarantee of paid family leave.