Following behind “fake” news predecessors The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver wrapped up its first season with an average gross audience of 4 million viewers, putting it on par with fellow HBO show Real Time With Bill Maher.
In the first season, John Oliver impressed by presenting objective reporting, wrapped up in comedy to a point you couldn’t tell the two apart. While Oliver has stated, “It’s not journalism, it’s comedy — it’s comedy first, and it’s comedy second,” one has to be impressed with the amount of research actually done for something that’s simply “comedy.” The research for the Miss America segment alone is more than some major new organizations would do to seek objective truth.
Whether it’s simply for a laugh or truly trying to bring journalism and information, hidden in comedy, the first season of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has not disappointed. While every episode has been a thing of beauty, both in entertainment and presenting truth, I could not select them all.
Here are my top five moments:
1. The Wealth Gap
“America now has a system where wealth is essentially dispersed as a lottery of birth, and maybe the reason we seem to accept that is that even though we know the odds are stacked against us, we all think we’re going to win the lottery.”
2. Net Neutrality
“The guy who used to run the cable industry’s lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”
“If even the governor can’t distinguish between the good and the bad elements of the community and has decided to punish everyone equally, then that should go both ways, I know the police love their ridiculous, unnecessary military equipment, so here’s another patronizing test. Let’s take it all away from them, and if they can make it through the whole month without killing a single unarmed black man, then, and only then, can they get their fucking toys back.”
4. The Miss America Pageant
“Currently, the biggest scholarship program exclusively for women in America requires you to be unmarried, with a mint-condition uterus, and also rewards working knowledge of buttock adhesive technology, which is just a little bit unsettling!”
5. Climate Change
“You don’t need people’s opinion on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking: ‘Which number is bigger, 15 or five?’ or ‘Do owls exist?’ or ‘Are there hats?’ The debate on climate change ought not to be whether or not it exists. It’s what we should do about. There is a mountain of research on this topic.”