Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Salmon Cannon, State Lotteries, Season Ends
November 11, 2014 1:44 PM - Season 1, Episode 24 - Subscribe

This week: Turkey president Erdogan builds a gigantic thousand-room house. New Yorkers become eligable to register .nyc domain names, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg preregisters a ton before scalpers get them. (LWT registered a few of their own:, and A brief look at the Salmon Cannon (5m), a device for getting fish up stream past hydroelectric dams. (The show kind of goes nuts with the idea.) Main story: State lotteries, their problems and abuses (15m). And Now: People On TV Misunderstanding What The Term "Spoiler Alert" Means. And, finally, this is the last episode of Last Week Tonight for the season, and the year. They bring back the puppets, the Scottish Unicorn, the Space Sex Gecko, and Breakdancing Lincoln for the closing credits. G'night, John Oliver.
posted by JHarris (25 comments total)
Hard to believe it's already 24 episodes and done. The show premiered in April this year, but will return in February 2015. There was some early hinting of expanding the length to an hour and/or doing shows more than weekly, so watch for announcements, I guess?
posted by dhartung at 2:48 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm glad they're already confirmed to return in February.

The lottery seemed like an easy target but the show did a good job digging into it. I hadn't heard of states classifying slot machines as a lottery. That kind of doublespeak should be a clear signal they don't have your best interests in mind.

Thanks for all the FanFare posts, JHarris!
posted by Gary at 2:54 PM on November 11, 2014

I hadn't known that states could move around lottery money. I thought it went into a special education-only fund. Ah, still so naive.

The fish cannon was great. I got a bigger-than-probably-warranted kick out of the network shows/hosts that signed on for this.

What on earth is Oliver going to do with 3-4 months vacation? I'm already so on-board with this show I'm kinda pissed that's it done until next year. By then any number of things will have claimed my interest.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:32 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the Salmon Cannon segment more than I expected... surprised he got so many "late-night-tv-hosts" to play along... apparently everyone based in New York - no Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, Craigy Ferg or Nerdistguy. Or maybe Conan or Craig did such an awesome reaction they were AFRAID to show it. (I can hope.)

In order to avoid severe John Oliver withdrawal symptoms, I am happy to point out that he has resumed the less-US-centric Bugle Audio Podcast on an apparently weekly basis, diluted somewhat by the blathering and bad hair of co-Bugler Andy Zaltzman. And we can only hope that his return to video in February includes more celebrity assaults via the Salmon Cannon.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:57 PM on November 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I thought it went into a special education-only fund.

Even if it does, the legislature can just allocate less general funds to education, and they've just freed up a bunch of money to hand to... whoever they feel like handing it to. It's very very hard to make cash non-fungible.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:35 PM on November 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

What are we supposed to do until February? Gah!
posted by homunculus at 8:39 PM on November 11, 2014

What are we supposed to do until February? Gah!

Binge-listen to ~300 episodes of The Bugle Podcast, obviously. Fuck-you-logies for deceased dictators, occasional ivist from The American , every listener email signed with a fuck you to producer Chris. Oh you're in for such fun.

diluted somewhat by the blathering and bad hair of co-Bugler Andy Zaltzman.
For SHAME,oneswellfoop, for shame. From Andy's pun-runs, to The Congressman's Penis, to Florence Nightingale, Andy brings essential character to the show (in the form of things for John and the producer to groan at). And you can only SOMETIMES hear how poorly kempt his hair is .
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 8:55 PM on November 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

Has anyone found a list of all the domains listed at the bottom of the screen?

This article lists two more domains HBO owns: and (no content there yet).
posted by Gary at 11:04 PM on November 11, 2014

I paused it a bit to see some, but I didn't take notes (something something trying not to obsess), and the last one is incomplete.
posted by JHarris at 3:30 AM on November 12, 2014

John's great and I'm very much looking forward to him being a full participant in The Bugle again (the episodes since the hiatus ended have been a roughly 2:1 Andy/John ratio) but Zaltzman is one of the world's premier slingers of bullshit. The man is an artist, and his medium is utter nonsense told with a straight face. Also running gags.

From Andy's pun-runs, to The Congressman's Penis, to Florence Nightingale...

posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:22 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

The salmon cannon is old news. If I had to guess why it was included in this episode rather than one three months ago, I'd say the Simpsons' inexplicably-still-slow-despite-presumably-being-all-digital-now turnaround time.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2014

I expect they were saving it for the season finale, too.
posted by JHarris at 12:19 PM on November 12, 2014

The salmon cannon seems like end of season filler for when they're worn out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:58 PM on November 13, 2014

If you're a Bugle listener, and you should be, you'll understand how the salmon cannon is part of an ongoing theme to John Oliver's American life.

(I first got to read Zaltzman's terrible puns and bare-faced bullshit 20 years ago: he wrote sport reports for my university newspaper that often had little resemblance to reality and were all the better for it.)
posted by holgate at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

if you are missing John Oliver already, then you may want to watch The Daily Show from last night (thursday, 13th November).
posted by Wordshore at 1:26 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

diluted somewhat by the blathering and bad hair of co-Bugler Andy Zaltzman

omg I thought I was the only one.

Waiter, this podcast needs less Zalt.

posted by psoas at 1:23 PM on November 17, 2014

Hey, stop piling on the punster. Zaltzman's all right.
posted by JHarris at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2014

Last Week Tonight is between seasons, but they did release a new video last night: Turkey Pardoning.
posted by JHarris at 3:28 AM on November 24, 2014

Another web exclusive: New Year's Eve.
posted by Gary at 12:46 AM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the link Gary! Last Week Tonight returns February 8th.
posted by JHarris at 7:40 AM on December 30, 2014

Season 2 Promo - how do multicultural twins even work?
posted by Gary at 1:51 PM on January 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm getting a Dr. Tran vibe from that announcer.

Someone in YouTube comments said that he hopes #LegoManOrNothing becomes a thing now.
posted by JHarris at 6:35 PM on January 9, 2015


So is this a high quality laugh track, pre-taped a long time ago, or does he actually bring an audience in for a 4 minute segment? Either way, unexpected segments of the show arriving in my RSS reader are pretty awesome.
posted by Gary at 10:43 AM on January 26, 2015

Material recorded during the original run that was either designed to be standalone or didn't make the final cut? Recording more than you need in case one or two bits fall flat is common enough practice, especially in Britain with panel shows, though less so for scripted stuff. The Bugle records more stuff than goes out weekly, and some of the offcuts end up compiled on weeks when they're busy or on holiday.
posted by holgate at 1:51 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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