Last Week Tonight Episode Review: John Oliver: One and Done


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Please keep in mind, that when I say done, I do not mean to imply that the host of Last Week Tonight is headed off to the Happy Lotus Retirement Home for a lifetime of Bingo. Instead, it is to convey ’s notice to us that he is done for the year. Well after all, the holidays are nearly upon us. Happy Kwanzaa, John. I hope we can expect him to be right back at it in time for the Apocalypse, coming to a nation near you, in January.

The other part of the title has to do with the structure of the most recent show. Instead of three segments, there was only the one. I’m sure you know what that one was about, but just to check your knowledge, awareness and recent residence on Planet Earth, let’s have you take this simple quiz. The entire subject of Last Week Tonight was:

a) The Great Schism of 1957
b) How to either prepare or prepare for Chili con carne
c) The most recent election

As you are surely aware, there are a number of ways to prepare Chili: with or without beans, spicy or mild, tasting like envelope glue or colonoscopy prep. That said, the correct answer was “c)”. What can I say, the man is full of surprises.

Most of Oliver’s presentation was witty and honest, as we have come to expect. Not surprisingly, there were a couple of instances where he made himself the butt of the joke in order to make a point, as he also does, quite effectively, from time to time. All in all, this was certainly a broadcast worth watching, but I have to say that the sub-segment at the end, regarding the overall quality of the year 2016, could have been done a little more tastefully and definitely ran too long. Still, no reason to banish the man to the Bingo parlors of the Happy Lotus Retirement Home.

Before I pack it in for John Oliver’s (well-deserved) vacation, let me add two notes not bearing on the most recent show itself. The regular post-election show Oliver did for HBO was preceded by an earlier post-election presentation elsewhere. I have provided a sample below.

Also—and this has nothing to do with Mr. Oliver, but everything to do with the election—I would like to compliment for their first post-election reaction. The show opened with Kate McKinnon, in her Hillary Clinton garb. playing the piano and singing the stirring Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”. Being a better musician than I had known her to be, Ms. McKinnon did an excellent job, but all throughout the song I kept my fingers crossed that the show—first and foremost a comedy vehicle—was not going to crap up such a poignant moment with a cheap joke. To their immense credit, they did not.

Both of these extras are available right here on The Interrobang, if not your Facebook feed. Both are worth a look, as was Oliver’s show itself.

Last Week Tonight, HBO, November 13, 2016

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