Last Week Tonight Episode Review: John Oliver Flips the Script




In my most recent past article about ’s show, Last Week Tonight, which featured his return from Snarkfest ’16, or wherever he went to recharge his batteries (Possibly AA? Hey, I’m talking about batteries here. What did you think I meant?), whew, this is shaping up to be a really long sentence. Period break! There, now, as I was saying, in that article, my only criticism of an otherwise excellent show was that the host seemed to gloss over the very distressing problem of homicidal police in order to have more time to talk smack about Donald Trump.

Mind you, I do not for a moment wish to gainsay the importance of talking smack about the toxic circus clown who bears the Republican standard. When you consider that, prior to the debates, it seemed to be mox-nix to the American public whether Crooked Hillary or Unspeakable Donald replaced the Obamas at 1600 Penn, what Oliver did was of no small importance. In such a light, it is somewhat understandable that the shooting in Charlotte got truncated. HBO seems to offer Mr. Oliver a lot of leeway, but one of those permissions does not consist of letting him take all the time he wants. Just the same as the network’s gobbling turkeys like Vinyl, he and his show must adhere to a schedule.

Well, this week, he did a great deal to change the priorities almost 180 degrees. The result of this, let’s say, 176-degree turn was that his major segment was about police conduct (particularly in the matter of deadly force), while his shorter bits were about Trump. Perhaps it is fitting that the political stuff got the bigger role to play in his first show back, while the police stuff had to wait. That may well be because the election is coming at us sooner than we might imagine, while police brutality and misconduct is, sadly, a problem that shows little signs of going away.

Mind you, I do not have a dog in this race. I have more friends who are or were police than who are or were criminals, by which I mean actual criminals, not people who may have smoked a little pot, now and then. Contrary to what you may think, I do not hate myself. That said, there is a serious problem afoot, and we need to talk about it. I would strongly recommend that you catch this segment, if not the whole show, to hear Oliver’s witty, but at the same time, serious and well-thought-out approach to the matter.

As for the Trump stuff in the shorter segments, it was comical, or course, but how can you top the original artist, the candidate himself, when it comes to high political cockamamie? I’ll give you one of the samples, below, and let you decide.

See you later, crocodile.

Last Week Tonight, HBO, October 2, 2016


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Thomas Cleveland Lane

Thomas Cleveland Lane is a semi-retired freelance writer for pay and a stage actor for nothing more than the opportunity to make a fool of himself. Well, he does get a small stipend from the Washington Area Decency League, after playing the role of Hinezie in The Pajama Game, to never, ever appear on stage in his underpants again. When he has not managed to buffalo some director into casting him, Thomas can often be found at his favorite piano bar, annoying the patrons with his caterwauling. Thomas is the author of an anthology called Shaggy Dogs, a Collection of Not-So-Short Stories (destined to become a cult classic, shortly after he croaks). He is also the alter-ego to a very unbalanced Czech poet named Glub Dzmc. Mr. Lane generally resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and was last seen in the mirror, three days ago.