104 posts tagged with humor.
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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump's Budget Proposal, Bolivian Traffic Zebras  Season 4, Ep 6

Over the past 10,080 minutes....
  • "President Trump, two words that continue to sound bad together, like 'Horse Pope,' or 'Dr. Oz.'" Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time, whom he denigrated often on the campaign trail. He refused to shake her hand, which was almost as weird as that hand-pull thing he does when he shakes hands.
  • Trump also doubled-down on claims that Obama tapped his phones, claiming as a source a "talented legal mind" on Fox who turned out to be noted conspiracy theorist Judge Andrew Napolitano. Even Fox News backed away from the claim. Fareed Zakaria described Trump's behavior on CNN by using the word "bullshit" and variants of it several times.
  • And Now: Morning News Shows Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Literally The Only Way They Know How.
  • Main story: The Federal Budget and Trump's plans for it, which are predictably terrible.
  • And Now: A Special St. Patrick's Day Moment From Fox & Friends.
  • Finally... Bolivian Traffic Zebras. Bolivian Traffic Zebras. People in Zebra costumes helping traffic in Bolivia. Oliver asks, what situations wouldn't be made better by a helpful person in a zebra costume, and answers: nothing. To this end, LWT has posted green screen footage of a dancing zebra to their YouTube channel, for the use and wonder of all.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 20, 2017 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Republicans' American Health Care Act  Season 4, Ep 5

During the past 168 hours....
  • International Women's Day and reactions it it from around the globe, from Russian President Vladimir Putin, from Brazil President Michel Temer, and a particularly clueless San Antonio TV morning show host.
  • Wikileaks leaked documents concerning the CIA, although this batch is rather less alarming than Snowden's. It is filled with ridiculous program names though. Program Weeping Angel investigated the possibility of hacking into Samsung TVs to use them as listening devices, which, after two notorious recalls, is everything that company needed. LWT presents a message on behalf of Samsung to try to salvage their reputation, but it doesn't go too well.
  • Main story: The Republican response to the Affordable Healthcare Act, the American Health Care Act (YouTube 19m), and the many ways in which it's terrible. The piece concludes with another visit from LWT commercial proxy, the Catheter Cowboy.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 14, 2017 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama  Season 4, Ep 4

Over the last seven day period....
  • The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
  • Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
  • And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
  • Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 8, 2017 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Republican Replacement For Obamacare  Season 4, Ep 3

So, last week....
  • "Unfortunately, we must begin, again, with President Trump, two words that continue to sound unnatural together, like 'Walrus Porn,' or 'Tilda Swinton.'" Trump promises a crackdown on illegal immigrants, despite problems hiring ICE agents, and withdraws Obama-era guidelines for transgender students in school bathrooms.
  • And Now: Some Random Thoughts From WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott
  • Main Story: The Affordable Care Act (YouTube 19m), and Republicans trying to repeal it despite unexpected (to them) popular opposition. LWT examines what it is, problems with it, and Republican plans to fix it.
  • And Now: WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott Drops Some Famous Names
  • Finally, the Supreme Court. Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland for 11 months, so that they'd have the opportunity to have their guy Neil Gorsuch confirmed, a historic abberation. To reflect this, LWT's Dog Supreme Court is filling the seat, not with a dog, but by a choice of three lobsters, that they're asking viewers to vote for on their Twitter feed.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 27, 2017 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vladimir Putin  Season 4, Ep 2

So, what happened last week?
  • President Trump continues to amplify unquestioningly whatever whimsical story was presented on Fox News, this time that Sweden is having problems with immigrants, which Sweden denies.
  • The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong-nam (Wikipedia), was poisoned in an airport, by a woman who claims she was told to do it as part of a reality show.
  • A Florida man plotted to have bombs placed in 10 Target stores in order to drive stock prices down.
  • AND NOW: Fox & Friends is Painfully Aware of Who is Watching Them
  • MAIN STORY: Russia, specifically Vladimir Putin (YouTube, 20m). Him, his regime, how he's profited, what happens to those who oppose him, and Trump's fascination for him. LWT produced a short dance number about him, refering to the Russian pop song praising Putin.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 20, 2017 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump vs. Truth  Season 4, Ep 1

The first episode of season four! And so let's get right on to THIS WEEK....
  • The inauguration of Donald Trump, and his whirlwind of activity, which Oliver describes as "the tip of the shitberg."
  • AND NOW: Donald Trump Can't Shake Hands Right.
  • MAIN STORY: Trump vs. Truth (24m, NSFW). While just over a quarter of Obama's statements rated Mostly False or worse by Politifact.com, nearly 70% of Trumps rate so. In the process of covering this rich topic, we visit a Fox News commercial with a "cowboy," Breitbart, Alex Jones (apparently a primary source of information for him). They cover the history of the "three million voted illegally" lie from Twitter rando to President-Elect Trump to clueless person parroting it, creating a hideously self-reinforcing echo chamber that is currently driving policy in the United States.
At the end LWT, noting that Trump gets a disturbing amount of his news from certain programs, has put together a number of short commercial bits with useful information in them (like what the Nuclear Triad is, how the Unemployment Rate is derived, and "Tiffany"), and paid to put them into ad time in those shows. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 13, 2017 - 6 comments

Book: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

So the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu got together and talked about joy for a week. This resulting book is an accessible and actionable journey into the essential practice of experiencing and sharing joy. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Feb 12, 2017 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 2016 Election Result  Season 3, Ep 30

This week (11/13):
  • The only story is the outcome of the 2016 Election and the selecting of Donald Trump as the next US President. The full consequences of this are detailed, and his staff picks are discussed, and also offered is a look into how this happened: the prevailing use of social media to isolate people into echo chambers and feed them disinformation. A list of many organizations you can donate to and volunteer for is offered. It ends with a hearty FUCK YOU to the year 2016.
The entire episode is on YouTube (29m). This is the last episode of 2016, and the end of the third season of Last Week Tonight. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 14, 2016 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Multilevel Marketing  Season 3, Ep 29

This week (11/7):
  • The final pre-Election 2016 segment! Contains a couple of old Daily Show clips, of John Oliver 1. begging Donald Trump to run for the comedy potential, and 2. claiming the Cubs will never win.
  • And Now: The Inevitable, Sad Consequences of Morning Shows Celebrating Halloween
  • Main story: Multilevel marketing companies like Herbalife, Kyäni and "Nu Skin," and their suspecious similarity to pyramid schemes. With LWT's own pyramid scheme at the end -- money isn't involved, but passing a video around to five of your friends is. Because MLM companies are now targeting the Latino community, the segment is offered on YouTube with Spanish subtitles. English - Spanish subs (both about 32m))
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 7, 2016 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: School Segregation  Season 3, Ep 28

Week of 10/30:
  • Regrettably, more on the 2016 Election, putting aside a story on Pirate Party making progress in Iceland, among others, to make room for it. OH WELL:
  • The FBI finds a few Clinton emails in an investigation into oh god I can't believe I'm typing this Anthony Weiner, yes HIM again, Carlos Danger himself. Worth watching just for the footage of Biden reacting to the words "Anthony Weiner."
  • And Now: The Stream-Of-Consciousness Musings of WCBS-2 Meteorologist John Elliott
  • Main story: School segregation, and its surprising continued prevalence, not in the South, but in New York state. YouTube (18m)
  • How Is This Still A Thing: Voting On Tuesday (It turns out to have started because, in the 1800s, people were expected to be spending Monday travelling to the polling place to vote.) YouTube (4m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 6, 2016 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Opioids  Season 3, Ep 27

Week of 10/23:
  • The final debate of the election, and some highlights of awful Trump statements made during it, particularly his promise to keep us "in suspense" as to whether he'd accept a loss or not. Clinton and Trump were also both present at the Al Smith dinner in New York, where Trump spoke, and bombed. Henry Kissinger's reaction to Trump's speech: "Dis is not good." At the end, in order to allow Trump to save face should he lose the election, Oliver makes a bet with Trump on-air: he will bet Trump that he wins the elction, with the stakes being Oliver's Emmy award statuette.
  • And Now: You'll Never Guess What Christ Matthews' Favorite Movie Is
  • Main story: The rise of addictive opioid prescription pain killers (Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet), resulting in over 30,000 overdose deaths a year, and actively promoted, predictably, by the pharmaceutical industry. YouTube (19m)
  • People Who Somehow Got Elected: US Representative from Wisconsin's 6th District Glenn Grothman.
Bonus! If you were as enchanted by that guy with the shocked expression in the Al Smith dinner segment as I was, here he is in animated GIF form! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 6, 2016 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Third Party Candidates  Season 3, Ep 26

Week of 10/16:
  • Donald Trump has had quite the week as multiple women come forward with news of unwanted contact. Trump continues to rotate wildly, lashing out at both Clinton's campaign and his own. But dangerously he also loudly proclaims at rallys, "The election is rigged!"
  • And Now: The Most Patient Man on Television (Steve Scully): 2016 Election Edition
  • The issues with third party candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green), who despite Johnson's loud recorded protestations, have a high chance of being spoilers this election cycle. YouTube (19m)
  • And Finally: A Glimpse Into the Innter Workings of the Most Patient Man on Television
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 6, 2016 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Guantanamo Bay  Season 3, Ep 25

For the week of 10/9:
  • Trump's tape talking to Billy Bush bragging about being able to grope women. A portion of it on YouTube (5m)
  • And Now: A Look Back At Billy Bush's Creepy Bromance With Donald Trump YouTube (1m10s)
  • Main story: Guantanamo Bay, President Obama's continued difficulties in closing it, and the true meaning of "Freedom Isn't Free." YouTube (21m)
  • And Now: A look Back At Billy Bush Being Creepy With Everyone. YouTube (1m20s)
  • Another look at Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who's now running a reality show and staging martial arts battles among children. This is the guy who Oliver teased earlier this year, asking "Is this your cat?"
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 21, 2016 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Police Accountability, Wells Fargo  Season 3, Ep 24

This week:
  • Trump tries to spin his terrible debate performance by citing terrible, exploitable online polls, and his thin skin somehow gets even thinner, as he casts aspersions on a former Miss USA winner by, well.... Oliver: "That is a candidate for President of the United States urging America to check out a sex tape. Just do me a favor. Look up into the sky right now. Higher. No, higher still. Do you see that? Way up there? Way up above the clouds? That's rock bottom. And we are currently way down here."
  • And Now: Newscasters Quoting Movies
  • Main Story: Police accountability, or rather its lack, as it turns out that police who use deadly force practically never get called on account for it, due to a variety of increasly infuriating reasons. YouTube (20m)
  • And Now: Newscasters Quoting Movies, All Christ Matthews Edition
  • More on Wells Fargo, how the company retaliated against whistleblowers who called an internal ethics hotline to warn of wrong-doing. It turns out that the case for ethics had been made by a training video that Wells Fargo themselves had commissioned. The host of that video, it turns out, now works as a writer for Last Week Tonight! He stars in an update for that video. YouTube (4m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 4, 2016 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Presidential Campaign Scandals  Season 3, Ep 23

This (last) week:
  • The protests in Charlotte over yet another police shooting, and the release of video from the incident.
  • Employees for Wells Fargo created a huge number of accounts for people without their knowing, in order to extract fees for those accounts, due to an "aggressive" sales campaign.
  • And Now: Wait, Is WCBS2 News at 11 Just Fucking With Us At This Point?
  • Main story: The scandals plaguing the Clinton and Trump campaigns, how the Clinton ones tend to be more annoying than truly serious, while the Trump ones tend to all be blockbusters that would doom any other candidate, resulting in scandal fatigue. YouTube (21m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 4, 2016 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Charter Schools  Season 3, Ep 22

This week....
  • US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte (4m) and others trashed a men's restroom, and Lochte flees to us while his collegues are detained.
  • Main story: The downsides of many charter schools (18m): poor planning, profit seeking and corruption.
  • And Now: One Final Second of Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte The Perfectly Encapsulates His Entire Personality, Career and Worldview.
  • Finally, LWT tonight noticed surprising parallels between the campaign of Donald Trump and the book "The Kid Who Ran For President." Part 1 (5m) - Part 2 (5m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 24, 2016 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: API's New Ad,and Auto Lending  Season 3, Ep 21

This week... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 17, 2016 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Journalism  Season 3, Ep 20

This week....
  • A recap of the Olympic opening ceremonies. Part 1 - Part 2 (both 4m)
  • And Now: Newscasters Perv Out Over a Shirtless Olympian in National Dress
  • Main Story: Journalists (19m), and the increasing difficulty that news outlets have staying in business while not compromising their work. With a special guest appearance by Tronc (MeFi)! Finishes with a trailer for "Stoplight," a depressingly realistic take on the plight of a reporter in the 21st century.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 8, 2016 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The US Democratic National Convention  Season 3, Ep 19

This week: [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 3, 2016 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Republican National Committee, and Campaign Songs  Season 3, Ep 18

This week....
  • The 2016 Democratic National Convention, and Hillary Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine as her VP pick.
  • David Cameron's successor Teresa May's controversial pick of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
  • And Now: A Summary of Roger Ailes' Contribution to Our Political Discourse
  • Main story: A recap of the 2016 Republican National Convention. (12m)
  • And Now: A Few More Highlights From the Republican National Convention
  • Referencing both the RNC's unapproved use of Queen's "We Are The Champions" for their convention, and the long history of Americal political parties misappropriating music, often unlicensed and frequently ironically, LWT got Michael Bolton, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Dan Reynolds, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson together to make a music video to speak against the practice. (7m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 26, 2016 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit Update, Doping in Sport  Season 3, Ep 17

This week....
  • The UK votes to leave the European Union, and in the wake David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister of the UK. YouTube (5m)
  • And Now: The Things News Anchors Are Scared Of
  • Main Story: Doping in the Olympics, and its creeping ubiquity. LWT provides an inspirational athlete bio that may be more realistic than the usual uplifting sports story. YouTube (21m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 27, 2016 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The NRA and Brexit  Season 3, Ep 16

This week...
  • The aftermath of Orlando shootings, from Trump's predictably awful remarks to the Democratic Party's filibuster, and the choke-hold the NRA holds over Congress and regulatory agencies, despite relatively low membership and campaign contributions. YouTube (11m)
  • And Now: "60 Minutes" Anchors Are Still Prompting People to Deliver the Exact Soundbite They Need
  • Main story: Brexit, that is to say, the motion to remove Great Britain from the European Union. Last Week Tonight debunks some of the reasons given for exiting. At the end, LWT provides their own (foul-mouthed, half-hearted) lyrics supporting staying in the EU, sung to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode To Joy." YouTube (16m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 22, 2016 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump University and Debt Buyers  Season 3, Ep 14

This week...
  • Trump and his businesses, it turns out, have been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits over three decades. LWT focuses on those concerning Trump University. YouTube: Part 1 (4m) and Part 2 (9m)
  • And Now: Wolf Blitzer States the Obvious
  • Main story: Debt, how Americans are in it (to the tune of $12 trillion dollars), how they get in it (often unavoidable medical reasons), how debt buying has become an industry to itself, and how it operates (predictably, badly) To demonstrate how easy it is to organize as debt buyers and buy debt, LWT organized as debt buyers in Mississippi, set up an EXTREMELY bare bones website, bought $15M of medical debt, the debt of 9,000 Texas people, and forgave it. The cost to them was a mere $60K, but it was technically the largest televised giveaway in history, beating out Oprah Winfrey's famous car giveaway. Oliver: "It is done! It is done! I am the new queen of daytime talk!" YouTube (21m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 6, 2016 - 15 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES  Season 3, Ep 13

This week....
  • Protests rock Venezuela as their economy continues to deteriorate due to low oil prices.
  • Canada Prime Ministar Justin Trudeau hits a very minor scandal, "Elbowgate," due to his pushing his way through a crowd of people in the House of Commons.
  • And Now: John McLaughlin Angrily Introduces Discussion Topics.
  • Main story: Primaries and Caucuses, the means by which the Democratic and Republican candidates get chosen, which is far from proportional to public will.
  • And Now: Increasingly Weird Bell Ringers at the New York Stock Exchange
  • Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov, widely considered to be a brutal strongman and who idolizes Putin, has completely lost his cat. LWT launches a campaign to find Kadyrov's cat before anyone suffers for it. Follow-up on Huffington Post.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 26, 2016 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 911  Season 3, Ep 12

This week.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2016 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Science  Season 3, Ep 11

This week.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 10, 2016 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Puerto Rico  Season 3, Ep 10

  • Obama visits Saudi Arabia, but is snubbed when he's greeted at the airport by a governor, not the king.
  • Obama visits the UK, and is met by the Queen, driven by a 94-year-old prince, and his hand shaken by the adorable child Prince George.
  • Norway reacts to Syrian migrants by tightening the borders.
  • And Now: Everyone Likes Mispronouncing "Target"
  • Main story: Puerto Rico (21m), and it's $70 billion debt crisis.
  • Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda sings in behalf of his native Puerto Rico.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 25, 2016 - 14 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US CONGRESSIONAL FUNDRAISING  Season 3, Ep 7

This week.... Vladimir Putin snubs the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, and Donald Trump demonstrates that nuclear weapons is another thing he doesn't have much knowledge about. Baseball season prepares to begin, and the New York Yankees annoy and frustrate fans by making it difficult to resell premium tickets online, claiming that the tickets may end up in the hands of people who the Yankees owner figures may not know how to treat the privilege of sitting in the first five rows at a Yankees game. LWT is running a short impromptu context: tweet a picture of yourself wearing something that would would look ridiculous sitting in premium seats at a Yankees game with the hashtag #IHAVENEVERSATINAPREMIUMLOCATION, and you can win one of those seats to a game. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 4, 2016 - 11 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump's Border Wall  Season 3, Ep 6

This week.... Brazillians protest against their president Dilma Rousseff and their legislature moves to impeach, although 60% of members themselves face criminal charges of some kind. Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Scalia's death. And Now: two segments on CBS This Morning's Awkward Sex Talk. Main story: Trump's proposal to build a border wall along the US/Mexico border. (YouTube 19m) Finally, Last Week Tonight begins to consider updating their All-Dog Supreme Court and asks the public to choose a dog for the event that Garland gets confirmed. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 21, 2016 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Encryption  Season 3, Ep 5

This week....Hillary Clinton apologizes for remarks made about Nancy Reagan on the occaision of her death. Trump rallies erupt in violence, but he claims (despite multiple recorded examples) not to have encouraged it. International Women's Day is observed, sometimes oddly, throughout the world. Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann commemorates the Day of the Sick with a weird speech. And Now: Everybody Listen, Bernie Sanders Has Something to Say. Main story: Software encryption (18m), especially relevant concerning Apple's current court case. LWT made a commercial on behalf of Apple about the nature of software security. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 14, 2016 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abuse of Special Districts  Season 3, Ep 4

This week.... The Republican primaries degenerate into yet more chaos, and the Republican elite tear into Donald Trump. LWT presents a short clip of Morgan Fairchild reading Trump's former wife Ivana's (remember her?) barely-fictionalized account of sex with him. Trump's confrontational attitude in tweets has begun to inspire imitators even worse than the original. And Now: People On TV Mean "Fucking." Main story: Special-purpose districts (YouTube 15m), local governmental entities created for a purpose but given little oversight, and which are sometimes wildly abused. Many people don't know what they are, so to help spread the world, LWT made an explanatory video with the help of some California school children. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 7, 2016 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Donald Trump  Season 3, Ep 3

This week.... Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attempts to tackle his nations economic woes while wasting money on red carpets and begging for donations. President Obama tries, again, to close Guantanamo Bay over the objections of Congress. And Now: Basketball Enthusiast Pat Roberts Spends Twelve Minutes of Sentate Time Fantasizing About Playing One-On-One with the President. "Our main story tonight, and I cannot believe I am saying this, is Donald Trump." (YouTube 22m) A long and hilarious segment on Trump's many many failings, ending with the revelation that his ancestral family name was, in fact, Drumpf -- a word which the show has filed paperwork to trademark. They also own the website donaldjdrumpf.com, and offer an extension for Chrome called The Drumpfinator. Additionally, last week's segment on Hollywood Whitewashing (5m) is available on LWT's YouTube channel. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 29, 2016 - 17 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Hollywood Whitewashing, Abortion  Season 3, Ep 2

This week.... Donald Trump wins the South Carolina Republican Primary despite a feud with the Pope, and Jeb Bush finishes fourth. Republicans dig in on not confirming whatever replacement Supreme Court Justice Obama nominates. The "Judicial Crisis Network" makes an ad saying Republican senators should not confirm made mostly of smiling faces bought from stock footage sites. Last Week Tonight provides a stock footage rebuttal. How is This Still a Thing: Hollywood whitewashing. This week's main story: breast implants abortion (16m), and the stealth efforts of the right to outlaw it de facto by making it impossible in some states to operate an abortion clinic through the imposition of ridiculously onerous rules. The show finishes up with footage of a bucket of baby slothes -- and one in person, in the studio. Metafilter thread. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 24, 2016 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Voter ID Laws in American States  Season 3, Ep 1

Last Week Tonight S03E01 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at age 79. Chipotle restaurants face federal investigations over food safety. (LWT produced a small commercial for them.) Main story: Voting (YouTube 14m), and the increased obstacles put in place to make it harder for US citizens to vote in elections. And Now: Newscasters Using Entirely The Wrong Tone. New Zealand's Prime Minister Steven Joyce is smacked in the head by a thrown phallus and is thereafter nicknamed by the New Zealand Herald "Dildo Baggins." Joyce tweeted to send it the GIF to John Oliver to get it over with -- and so they put the image on a flag, and gave the flag to Peter Jackson to wave. And then things got weird.... Yes that's right: Last Week Tonight is back! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 15, 2016 - 26 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Syrian Refugees, The Penny, End Of Year Recap  Season 2, Ep 35

This week... more on the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris. US politicians use the opportunity to pile on Syrian refugees. And Now: The Dismal Prop Comedy Of The United States Congress. Main story: The US Penny, its dwindling value, and the issues around supporting it. YouTube (10m) And Now: What In God's Name Are They Covering On WCBS News At 11? And, finally, this is the final episode of this year of Last Week Tonight, so the show provided a retrospective, featuring the return of Wanda Jo Oliver. This concludes LWT's second season; it resumes in February. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 27, 2015 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fantasy Sports  Season 2, Ep 34

This week.... Terrorist attacks kill over a hundred people in Paris. Singles Day, a minor holiday turned into a gigantic sales event, hits the nation of China, and called in to promote it are foreign celebrities Adam Lambert, Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey as, of all things, his House Of Cards character Frank Underwood. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his first visit to the UK, while Indian industrialists prepare legal challenge for the return of the Koh-i-Noor, a huge diamond that currently serves as the centerpiece of the Queen's crown. And Now: Another One Of John McCain's Favorite Jokes. Main story: Daily fantasy sports apps DraftKings and FanDuel, and their skirting laws regulating gambling. Last Week Tonight provides a more honest ad for the apps than the ones they have been filling the airwaves with. YouTube (19m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 18, 2015 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry  Season 2, Ep 33

The UK unveils new surveillance laws. A hearing reveals that the honors to US veterans that often precede sporting events are frequently paid for by the Department of Defense. A certain Washington football team complains about its offensive trademark being cancelled by listing other companies with offensive names whose trademarks still stand. And Now: Everybody Wants To Be An Outsider. Main story: Prisoner re-entry, and the formidable societal and legal obstacles set up to harass prisoners reentering society. John Oliver interviews Bilal Chapman, a tomato grower subject to many of those problems. YouTube (19m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 9, 2015 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Medicaid Gap  Season 2, Ep 32

This week... John Kerry holds a conference in Vienna to try to get Syria to reach an agreement with rebels, but while delegates from 20 nations show up, neither Syria nor the rebels attend. "Chewbacca" is arrested in Ukraine for campaigning on behalf of "Darth Vader," who is running for mayor there. In the UK, the threatened removal of tax credits for the poor are thwarted by an unlikely benefactor: the House of Lords. And Now: The Inevitable, Sad Consequences Of Morning Show Anchors Celebrating Halloween. The main story: 2015 state elections determine whether more states will opt out of expanding Medicaid to their residents. YouTube (14m) And Now: Oh Sweet Jesus, They've Put The Weather Forecasters In Costumes Too. Finally, China attempts to gain control over shipping lanes in the South China Sea by claiming sovereignty over artificial islands, a situation that has become tensely volatile and a potential cause for war. In an attempt to introduce some reason, Last Week Tonight brought on Kenny G (unexpectedly popular in China) to sing a song about it. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 4, 2015 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Canada's Election, Misattributed Quotations  Season 2, Ep 31

This week.... New Zealand Prime Minister John Key answers surprisingly candid questions on radio. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, unpopular for his reforms, courts controversy with an insensitive TV commercial. A Copenhagen zoo's decision to kill a healthy two-year-old giraffe and feed it to the lions is followed up by the decision to kill two lions and their cubs, and another zoo in Denmark dissected a lion in front of a crowd. LWT helpfully produced an honest commercial for Denmark's zoos. Main story: Canada has an election tomorrow (er, by now, two days ago -- Justin Trudeau won). Cameo appearance by Mike Myers! YouTube (15m) And Now: A Student Passes Out Listening To Steven Harper Speak. (Two students, actually.) Finally, in response to the epidemic of quote misattribution by political figures and generally on the internet, LWT created a website to generate random misquotes from historical figures, definitelyrealquotes.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 21, 2015 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: North Dakota  Season 2, Ep 30

Russia fires cruise missiles at targets in Syria and Iran, and the U.S. suspends their rebel training program. FIFA's ethics committee suspends Sepp Blatter for 90 days, and all his replacements are either being investigated themselves or might be soon. The U.S. asks Toyota how come so many of their trucks have gotten in the hands of ISIS. And Now: John McCain's Favorite Joke. Main story: North Dakota's oil rush, and the environmental and human cost to the state. LWT produced a video appeal to North Dakota to hold oil companies to greater account for their malfeasence, and paid for a billboard in the state saying "Be Angry. (Please.)" YouTube (20m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 12, 2015 - 18 comments

Fishing with John: Thailand with Dennis Hopper  Season 1, Ep 5

John Lurie and Dennis Hopper travel to Thailand in search of the deadly, hypnotic Giant Squid in this two part episode. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Oct 5, 2015 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health, Peeple  Season 2, Ep 29

Vladimir Putin launches air strikes against ISIS in Syria. Quick takes from the United Nations general debate: Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe defends their anti-homosexuality laws; Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaims the Iran nuclear deal by silently staring them down for 45 seconds; dictator of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko brings his 11-year-old son to sit beside him in the General Assembly. The Secret Service hits scandal yet again by trying to embarass Congressman Jason Chaffetz by leaking his old job application to their agency. And Now: People On Television Talking Shit About Their Producers. Main story: the horrifying plight of the mentally ill in the United States. YouTube (12m) And Now: Newscasters Stretching The Definition Of The Word "Exclusive." And finally, the new "Yelp for people" app, Peeple... wait that sounds a bit familiar. Last Week Tonight launches a website to facilitate people saying awful things on the internet without actually hurting anyone: screamintothevoid.com. Or consider another suggestion by LWT: Peeble, an app which rates people according to the opinion of Mario Van Peebles. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 5, 2015 - 3 comments

Fishing with John: Maine with Willem Dafoe  Season 1, Ep 4

John Lurie and Willem Dafoe brave the elements to go ice fishing in Maine. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Oct 3, 2015 - 5 comments

Fishing with John: Costa Rica with Matt Dillon  Season 1, Ep 3

John Lurie and Matt Dillon try their hand at the mysterious, local fishing customs of Costa Rica. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Oct 2, 2015 - 2 comments

Fishing with John: Jamaica with Tom Waits  Season 1, Ep 2

John Lurie and Tom Waits take a fishing trip to Jamaica. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Oct 1, 2015 - 3 comments

Fishing with John: Montauk with Jim Jarmusch  Season 1, Ep 1

John Lurie and Jim Jarmusch drive to Montauk. New York to hunt man-eating sharks. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Sep 30, 2015 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Refugees flood Europe  Season 2, Ep 28

This week.... Pope Francis visits the US. The book Call Me Dave alleges a bizarre and hilarious fact about UK Prime Minister David Cameron: he once put his penis into the mouth of a dead pig's head. German car company Volkswagon faces huge fines and criminal charges for rigging automobiles to beat emissions tests, causing the resignations of several executives including the CEO. Last Week Tonight presents a new VW ad unveiling not-made-up features like solid gold breaks and a dick-sucking engine. "Volkswagon: Hitler trusted us. Why won't you?" The main story: the huge wave of refugees atttempting to immigrate into European countries. For a Syrian refugee girl who's a fan of Days Of Our Lives, LWT got her two favorite characters back together (one of whom had recently died on the show) for a short reunion -- during which they describe the plight of the refugees. YouTube (18m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 28, 2015 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The sad state of public defense in the US, OLOPE shuts down  Season 2, Ep 27

Michigan state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat leave office, the first resigning, the second removed from her position, due to allegations they were having an affair together. Guatemala elects a new President following the resignation of Otto Pérez Molina. Queen Elizabeth becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history. And Now: Some More Descriptions Of The Queen's Ridiculous Hats. Main story: public defenders, their relatively short history (only since 1963), and the many ways our legal system stacks the deck against them. (YouTube 15m) Last Week Tonight produced a short piece reimagining cop shows' Miranda warnings in light of the challenges faced by public defenders. And Now: An Important Message From Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption (OLOPE), an update on the state of the church, which is closing down, and all the things they sent, at least one of which is really NSFW. Last Week Tonight is off next week. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 15, 2015 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: LGBT Discrimination  Season 2, Ep 26

This week.... Hostilities flare up between North Korea and South Korea. Vladimir Putin bans the import of many types of food from the West. Greece President Alexis Tsipras resigns (but will still run for reelection) after just seven months in office amidst controversy over his bank-mandated austerity measures. And Now: Another Check-In With The Most Patient Man On Television. (That would be Steve Scully of C-Span's Washington Journal.) The main story: discrimination against LGBT couples still legal in surprisingly much of the nation. YouTube (15m) And Now: The Most Patient Man On Television Faces His Greatest Challenge. Finally, a follow-up on the business of John Oliver's church, Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption. They got rather a lot of mail, including a giant bag of seeds, followed by gianter bag of seeds the next day. They also got beef jerky and a 100-Trillion-dollar bill from Zimbabwe (worth about 40 cents). Last Week Tonight is taking a break for two weeks. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 24, 2015 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Televangelists  Season 2, Ep 25

This week.... Cuba allows their US embassy to reopen for the first time in decades. Historians confirm that US President Warren G. Harding had a child out of wedlock. New Zealand is considering changing their flag, and held a competition for people to suggest designs. John Oliver points out some particularly ludicrous entries. And Now: Six More Actual Flag Designs Submitted to the New Zealand Goverment, With Descriptions of What They Look Like. Main story: Televangelists, those forgotten scourges of the poor, their tax-exempt status, and the surprisingly legal things they get away with. YouTube (20m) To demonstrate the extent of the problem, LWT started their own church, "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption." Said church has a website, www.ourladyofperpetualexemption.com. Metafilter thread about the episode. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 18, 2015 - 8 comments

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