Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The US Border Patrol Season 4, Ep 20
So, that week that just happened. What about it?
- Another Trump dump. Now he's complained about the White House, insulted the state of New Hampshire, and his new Communications Director is an incredible asshole.
- And Now: You Wish You Loved Anything As Much As Seattle Gardning Expert Ciscoe Morris Loves Everything.
- Main story: The Border Patrol. They aren't from Immigration, and they're not customs officers. In fact, their function isn't to keep everyone out; one of their roles is to welcome migrants seeking asylum from Central America. An executive order from Trump directs the hiring of 5,000 more border agents, but it turns out it's not the first such hiring surge we've done, and the last one didn't go well. YouTube (20m). It's a tough and incredibly boring job, while their commercials make it seem exciting; LWT produced a new commercial for them to give viewers a more accurate impression of the position.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Alex Jones Season 4, Ep 19
Okay, so there were these seven days, and during them, this happened:
- President Trump announces--via Twitter--a blanket ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military. Oliver: "We may already be entering the Mad Libs portion of Trump's presidency, where he just persecutes groups at random."
- The Republicans' efforts to repeal the ACA, aka Obamacare, failed on every level, as Senator John McCain, the deciding vote, voted NO in dramatic fashion.
- Scaramucci's ascent to White House Press Secretary, an auspicious reign that will certainly last forever.
- And Now: More Newscasters Desperately Trying Not To Say The Words "Suck My Own Cock"
- Main story: Alex Jones, favorite talk host of Donald Trump and the "Walter Cronkite of shrieking batshit gorilla clowns," his show, and the vast array of merchandise, sold on his web storefront, that keeps it afloat, much of it medical supplements and other supplies ("nutri-ceuticals") of dubious benefit. Warning: contains images of the "perineal area." (shudder) YouTube (22m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sinclair Broadcast Group Season 4, Ep 18
- Trump's travel ban is partially-reinstated by the Supreme Court in anticipation of its upcoming full review to not affect refugees with a "credible claim of a bona-fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," which Trump's State Department took the opportunity to define narrowly to immediate and a select few extended family members, not including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or brothers or sisters-in-law. YouTube (5m partial)
- And Now: CBS 2 Meteorologist John Elliott Engages in a Bit Too Much Self-Deprecation
- Main Story: The dangers posed by Sinclair ownership of television stations filling local news reports with Fox News-style propaganda, including "must run" conservative pieces. LWT produced a short piece that Tribune stations that might be acquired by Sinclair could air to warn viewers about upcoming biased content that may appear there. YouTube (19m)
- News that Rachel Maddow bought a wax figure of President Eisenhower from the closed Hall of Presidents and First Ladies in Gettysburg, Steven Colbert bought Zachary Taylor, Jon Steward bought Martin Van Buren, and LWT bought five President statues: Nixon, Clinton, Carter, Harrison and Warren G. Harding, that last one of which became the main character of a movie trailer LWT made, with Campbell Scott, Anna Kendrick, Michael McKean, James Cromwell and Laura Linney. YouTube (9m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vaccines Season 4, Ep 17
- Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray, as promised, decided to sue Last Week Tonight for their coverage of them. DJWheezy managed to find a PDF of the actual complaint on The Daily Beast's website! (So you don't have to mess around with their annoying web interface.) Give that a read, if only for the mental image of Bob Murray claiming he's clinging to life and needs an oxygen tank to breathe.
- In explaining that he actually has no tapes of his conversation with James Comey, President Trump embarks on a nonsensical digression about Obama and surveillance, leaving Oliver to ask "What the fuck was that?" And it wasn't even the end of the clip....
- The Senate moves forward, but not yet to a vote, on their own version of ACA replacement, the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," which would drastically cut Medicaid.
- And Now: The Ongoing Controversy Over WNEP 16 Scranton's Backyard Train, and later, Seriously: The People of Scranton Are Very Invested in WNEP 16's Backyard Train.
- Main story: Vaccines, an amazing discovery that has reshaped the modern world for the better, and vaccine skeptcism, which seeks to destroy it. YouTube (27m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The US Coal Industry Season 4, Ep 16
So recently you may have heard these things happening....
- The mistrial in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case, the result of which prompted Cosby to exclaim Fat Albert's catchphrase "Hey hey hey!" while exiting the courtroom, further soiling all of our memories.
- The incredibly unpopular AHCA Take Two, accompanied by a fitting graphic of the GOP logo with a blue skull superimposed with stars for eyes. Of the version passed by the House, Trump (who held a presentation where he celebrated its passing) was quoted as saying it was "mean," the irony entirely lost on him. Its very existence is causing problems in insurance markets, as companies decide if they want to pull out of the current markets or not.
- And Now: Things People's Fathers Used To Say
- Main Story: Coal, coal mining jobs, coal executives, coal mining companies, executives of coal companies, and Donald Trump's fixation on the mineral, discussed divorced of its (tremendous) ecological toll. Eventually the story comes around to involving a giant squirrel.... YouTube (24m)
- A new installment of Stupid Watergate. James Comey tells Congress under oath that he had no doubt he was fired because of the Russia investigation, which everyone knew anyway but still sent shockwaves, and that wasn't the end of it.
- And Now: There Is No Group Of People More Easily Amazed Than The Audience Of "America's Got Talent."
- Main story: The continuing negotiations of the UK over Brexit, and the harm done to them by Prime Minister Theresa May's ill-considered snap election which lost her a lot of seats. YouTube (19m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Paris Climate Agreement Season 4, Ep 14
- Terrorist attacks in London killed 7 and injured more. The American news media is full of stories of London "reeling" and "under siege." Londoners take issue with that description, continue drinking beer and carrying on.
- Vladimir Putin is in many places, from clips to an Oliver Stone series of interview on him to interviewing former Fox host Megyn Kelly, where he admited Russian citizens may have interfered with the US election, while Trump's administraion looks into returning Russian compounds on US soil known to have been used for spying.
- And Now: 60 Minutes Anchors Are Still Prompting People To Give Them The Exact Soundbites They Need.
- Main story: Trump announces that he is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, a decision with possibly disasterous consequences. YouTube (21m)
- And Now: Still More 60 Minutes Anchors Prompting People To Give Them The Exact Soundbites They Need.
A filmed version of Chris Gethard's one man comedy show about suicide, depression, alcoholism, and all the other funniest parts of life. [more inside]
So, what's up in the world?
- "We begin with A Narcissistic, Unstable Man Who Just Might Kill Us All." In this case, that means Trump and Kim Jong-un, between whom tensions have been racheting up lately. Trump "sends" and "armada" to deter North Korea, although it turns out the weren't heading right there, but instead going to Austrailia.
- Turkey President Recep Erdoğan consolidates power with a referrendum that takes him closer to being a dictator.
- And Now: Cable News. (It's a lot of arguing and people talking over each over, sometimes up to 10 at once.)
- Main story: Trump's advisors and relatives Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, popularly regarded as moderating influences. LWT takes a closer look and notes that we we really know little about them, and what we do know suggests Ivanka is more about preserving the Trump brand, and Jared is an underachiever, extremely inexperienced, and is ludicrously in over his head. YouTube (22m)
- And Finally: Bill O'Reilly: A Life In Television.
Meanwhile, back on Earth....
- Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer digs an incredible hole for himself, first appearing to claim that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler because Hitler never used chemical weapons (he did), then that Hitler never used them against innocent people (he did), then making up the term "Holocaust centers" as the place where Jews were gassed.
- Trump meets with China president Xi Jinping, who apparently in 10 minutes convinced him to do what over half the United States desperately wanted him to do for months: learn a damn thing about North Korea. Alas they did so at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, having recently been cited for 13 health code violations. Trump continues to flip-flop on practically everything related to foreign policy, underscoring how desperately stupid his campaign was.
- Trump drops a "MOAB" (Mother Of All Bombs) on Afghanistan, causing euphoric celebration at Fox News from Geraldo Rivera. When directly asked if he had authorized the strike, Trump danced around the question.
- And Now: You Put Easter And Local News Together, And What Do You Fucking Expect?
- Main Story: The upcoming French Presidental elections, between 11 different candidates, at least three of which have been assaulted in public by citizens throwing baking ingredients. YouTube (18m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering Season 4, Ep 8
- Gorsuch appointed to Supreme Court via the "nuclear option," Devin Nunez recuses himself from investigating Trump as he himself is comes under an ethics investigation, and Thursday: Trump launches missiles at a Syrian airfield on very short notice and without apparent strategy while Brian Williams sings rhaposodies about their beauty. It's an act that, like so many of Trump's other acts, he tweeted against when Obama did it.
- Bill O'Reilly hit by revelations that he settled multiple sexual harrasment suits totalling 15 million dollars over the years, leading to around 60 advertisers pulling ads from his show, but somehow a defense from Donald Trump. Sensing an opportunity, LWT pushed to fill some of the vacated time with their Catheter Cowboy, who will hopefully soon be telling Trump: "You're blowing this. You're sacrificing the chance to make society a better place on the altar of your towering ignorance and your fragile ego. YOU ARE BLOWING THIS."
- Main story: The gigantic problem of gerrymandering, mostly from Republicans, but from some Democrats too, as well as the difficulties with redrawing districts fairly and intelligently. YouTube (20m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Marijuana Legalization Season 4, Ep 7
So what happened last week?
- The Trump/Putin scandal continues, which the show has dubbed Stupid Watergate, because "it has all the potential consequences of Watergate, but everyone involved is really stupid." This week time it was Devin Nunez, whose claims of wiretapping Trump officials unraveled. Nunez himself was one of those alleged to have been wiretapped, a conflict of interest for an investigator.
- British PM Theresa May invokes Article 50, beginning the process of leaving the European Union.
- And Now: Yet Another Look at the Awkward Sex Talk on CBS This Morning.
- Main Story: Marijuana legalization, or rather, how its differing legality at state and national levels causes grave problems for businesses and users alike. YouTube (17m)
- And Now: Twenty-Seven Seconds of the Breakfast Foreplay That Is CBS This Morning.
- Finally, more of the Bolivian Traffic Zebras, who responded graciously to John Oliver's gushing about them in the previous episode.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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))
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)
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.
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
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?"
- 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)
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)
Vice Principals: Season 1 Season 1, Ep 0
Vice Principals just finished airing on HBO this past weekend. Another collaboration between Jody Hill and Danny McBride, the show treads familiar ground, featuring two terrible men (McBride and Walton Goggins) who plot and scheme against one another in an attempt to take the top spot of the pecking order at a South Carolina high school after the previous principal (Bill Murray) retires. However, an outsider named Dr. Brown (Kimberly Herbert Gregory) ends up taking the job that each man sees as rightfully his. Through 9 episodes, the two sink lower and lower in their efforts to unseat Brown. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Charter Schools Season 3, Ep 22
- 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)
- Hillary Clinton releases her tax returns. Donald Trump claims Obama founded ISIS. He also claims that, if Hillary beats him, it must have been because of vote cheating. He also loves charts. Part 1 (4m) - Part 2 (4m)
- The American Petroleum institute airs a new commercial, and totally rips off the style of Last Week Tonight's intro! Of course you know, this means war. (4m)
- Main story: Predatory auto lending (18m) and its effects on the disadvantaged.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Journalism Season 3, Ep 20
- 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.
- Restrictive voting laws struck down in Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina. (4m)
- A military coup fails in Turkey, and the Turkish President Erdogan seeks revenge. (4m)
- How Is This Still A Thing: Tanning Beds
- The 2016 Democratic National Convention (18m)
- And Now: Some More Highlights from the Democratic National Convention
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Republican National Committee, and Campaign Songs Season 3, Ep 18
- 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)
- 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)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The NRA and Brexit Season 3, Ep 16
- 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)
- 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)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES Season 3, Ep 13
- 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.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 911 Season 3, Ep 12
- Donald Trump starts to mend fences with the Republican elite (5m), as we all knew he would; refuses to release his tax returns; invented a publicist for himself in the 80s that was actually just him.
- A recording of the Queen of England caught her saying a remark about a Chinese diplomat. (2m)
- Budweiser announces temporarily changing the name of their beer-like substance to "America." (2m)
- People Who Somehow Got Elected: Paul LePage, Governor of Maine. (4m)
- Main story: 911, and the difficulties it faces in the age of cell phones. (16m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Science Season 3, Ep 11
- Ted Cruz drops out of the race for the Republication Nomination, leaving Donald Trump as presumptive nominee. (YT 4m, via Fortune!)
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls the first meeting of their Worker's Party since 1980. (YT 4m)
- And Now: The Next President of the United States
- Main story: Science (YT 19m), and how good, and not-so-good, studies get trumpeted by the media as saying things that they don't all the fucking time. LWT presents a parody of TED talks, "TODD," to make their point.
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]