HBO Will be the Place to Go For Comedy in the Coming Months

hbo

If you want to laugh, HBO will have you covered through into next year. Today they announced a number of stand up specials an a new sketch series that will air in 2016 and 2017.

First, on the stand-up side. HBO will air new specials from Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Charter Schools (August 21)

While Last Week Tonight often dives into under-represented topics, the things that he talks about are rarely that controversial (particularly for his audience). It’s not that shocking to learn that debt buyers are a little shady, you know? If John Oliver’s discussion of a certain topic gets some people upset, he’s usually happy about it, since the people who get upset are the people he was hoping to make upset. But this week’s look at charter schools was a little bit different, as John noted that people on both sides of the political spectrum have praised charter schools and their benefits. However, Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Auto Lending (August 14)

Over the past couple of years, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has shed a lot of light on the various predatory practices that target poor people and contribute to making it difficult to get and stay out of debt. Past stories have focused on debt buyersmunicipal violations, and payday loans. This week John took a look at the auto industry, in particular the trend towards sub-prime auto loans, and the scary ways the prevalence of these types of loans reflects the sub-prime mortgage bubble that caused the 2008 recession. As usual, John used the experiences of real people to help to drive his point home and demonstrate the ways that bad auto loans can have a snowball effect on people’s financial futures. And, in the end, he enlisted the help of Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban to create his own advertisement for auto loans (from “Crazy Johnny’s”) that’s just a little bit more truthful than the others.

 

Last Week Tonight: Journalism (August 7)

While the past couple of episodes of Last Week Tonight have delved deeply into the presidential race, this week it was back to business as usual, as John Oliver took on a topic that doesn’t get as much media play: print journalism. John explored the many challenges that print journalism faces and the reasons why the failure of print journalism is problematic to everyone. He drove his point home by focusing in part on The Oregonian, a newspaper that he cited back in his discussion of state lotteries, and which is now facing major cutbacks. He also made fun of the Tribune Corporation’s rebranding itself as “tronc”, which is just too ridiculous not to make fun of. And finally, he ended up with a remake of Spotlight called Stoplight, in which Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, and Jason Sudeikis portray what it’s really like to be a print journalist these days.

Last Week Tonight: DNC (July 31)

Back in the day when Donald Trump’s candidacy for president seemed like a big joke that brought along high ratings but no actual legitimacy, John Oliver refused to cover it (or even really talk about it). Instead, he did long form pieces about issues that did not get nearly as much press as the latest crazy thing that Donald Trump just said. As Trump slowly gained traction, however, John Oliver had no choice but to cover it. While the latest episode of Last Week Tonight was technically focused on Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: RNC (July 24)

John Oliver missed an awful lot during his few weeks off. After reviewing Hillary Clinton’s VP pick, the appointment of Boris Johnson to Foreign Secretary, and a look back at Roger Ailes’ tenure as Fox News CEO, John Oliver’s main story focused on the Republican National Convention. While almost everything that John touched on had already been broken down by the plethora of other late night shows dedicated to covering the conventions, John looked at the phenomenon of “emphasizing feelings over facts”, whereby facts Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Endorsements (Web Exclusive)

John Oliver is still (yes, still) on holidays from Last Week Tonight, but he released another web video to at least give us something to hold on to while we wait for his return (next weekend). He’s actually only been off for a few weeks, but these weeks have been very eventful (and depressing) and his absence during these major world events has really been felt. Anyway, the latest web exclusive has John Oliver looking at political endorsements, as we continue our headfirst dive into the 2016 presidential election, or, as John calls it, Uncle Sam’s Rock-Bottom Yankee Doodle Suicide Pact of 2016. John even got in on the endorsement game himself, although rather than endorsing politicians, he Continue reading

John Oliver Responds to Fan Mail

Last Week Tonight was off again last night (it’s back with new episodes on July 24 – only two more weeks!), but John Oliver keeps giving us web exclusives to tide us over. Last week, he took his inspiration from the Fourth of July to talk about some of the differences between Americans and the British. This week, he took the opportunity to responds to the fan mail he received. Of course, since it’s 2016, it wasn’t so much fan mail as YouTube comments. While it initially looked like it was going to be the cousin of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment, it of course turned into more than that, as John broke down supposed insults and uncovered one comment in particular that could make him a very wealthy man.

Last Week Tonight: Doping (June 26)

After John Oliver’s impassioned Brexit segment last week (which unfortunately couldn’t be seen in the UK until after the vote), we were eager to see his reaction to the result that the UK had, indeed, decided to Brexit. It wasn’t the main segment, but John’s incredulity at the vote and its aftermath was really great. He hit all of the unbelievable developments since the vote on Thursday, and ended with a warning to America: “There are no fucking do-overs.” We’ve Continue reading

Sitcoms Are Better Now Than Ever Before

cropped-microphone-md1.pngSitcoms seem to be heading in divergent directions these days. When we say that, we mean it as a positive. If you are a frequent reader of fourthmic, you’d recognize that we appreciate the direction that sitcoms are going. There are so many shows to write glowing reviews about that we haven’t been able to get to Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Brexit (June 19)

Like most people, we’ve heard the term “Brexit” floating around for awhile now and while we knew that it had something to do with Britain voting whether or not to leave the European Union, we were pretty fuzzy on the details. With the vote coming up next week, it was the perfect time for John Oliver to devote the main segment of Last Week Tonight to the Brexit. He had two main goals: Continue reading

Curb Your Enthusiasm is Coming Back!

Courtesy of IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

Last week, JB Smoove suggested that Larry David might be bringing Curb Your Enthusiasm back. We just learned that HBO has announced that feelings have become reality.

“We’re thrilled that Larry has decided to do a new season of CURB and can’t wait to see what he has planned,” said HBO’s President of Programming, Casey Bloys. We can’t wait either!

The press release did not indicate when Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s ninth season would air, but the fact that it is happening is good enough news Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Retirement Plans (June 12)

Needless to say, it was a difficult weekend. John Oliver took a couple of minutes at the top of his show to address the attack on the LGBT club in Orlando, but then moved on to the regularly scheduled program of laughter and learning. There’s always a question of how to move on in the entertainment world after a tragedy, but we don’t think there was really anything else John could’ve done at this point. So, he moved on to talk about retirement plans, and how the fees charged by various companies and financial advisors can really eat into your savings without you noticing. But don’t worry, Continue reading

JB Smoove Hints at More Curb Your Enthusiasm

Courtesy of IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

In case you missed The Rich Eisen Show, which we did, JB Smoove appeared as a guest and suggested that there may be new episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm in the works. It has been five years since the last new season of the show so all of those fans eagerly awaiting news like this must be thinking that this sounds pretty, pretty, pretty good.

JB Smoove said in the interview that he speaks with Larry regularly and that he’s been talking about Curb Your Enthusiasm again recently. Talk is talk and action is action, but this revelation does provide reason for optimism. With many members of the cast working on other projects and Continue reading

Veep’s “Jonah Ryan for Congress” Website is Hilarious Perfection

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If you’re reading this, you already know that the fifth season of Veep has absolutely killed it so far. As usual, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is phenomenal as now-president Selina Meyer as she struggles to both stay president and, you know, run the country. But that’s not all that’s happening. One of our favorite subplots of the season has been the Jon H Jonah Ryan for Congress campaign. Along with Richard (Sam Richardson) and Dan (Reid Scott), Jonah (Timothy Simon) has waged a surprisingly effective campaign (at least until this week). Continue reading