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: 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

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

Last Week Tonight: Debt Buyers (June 5)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver often talks about the ways that people’s personal finances can be preyed upon by various shady groups (see, for example, John’s takes on bail and credit report companies). This week, John Oliver talked about collection agencies (or, as they’re known now, debt buyers). As will surprise absolutely no one, when the banks sell your debt to other companies (who then sell it to other companies), the people who try to collect this debt become progressively less ethical and more aggressive. Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: 911 (May 15)

We can’t say we’ve ever really put that much thought into the way that 911 works, which means it’s the perfect segment for Last Week Tonight. John Oliver looked at the various ways that 911 maybe isn’t quite as reliable as we would like to think it is. In fact, even though Domino’s can figure out how to deliver us a pizza to our exact location, such technology is not available to 911 operators. Part of the reason for this is because our cell phone technology has changed faster than 911’s technology – they used to be able to track people by the landlines, but now with cell phones, they’re reliant on cell carriers and things are just not precise. The reason why 911 can’t catch up with that technology is because there is a lack of funding, since money intended for 911 can seemingly be diverted at any time to fund any number of other projects.  Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Scientific Studies (May 8)

Even though John Oliver has made a name for himself by looking at topics that aren’t normally covered in the media (or in the various comedy shows that satirize the media), the main segments of his episodes all usually relate in some way to the biggest news stories of the day. This week, though, John’s look at scientific studies and the way that these are reduced and rebranded in the media (especially in morning television shows). Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Credit Reports (April 10)

Last Week Tonight has been fairly politically-focused lately, talking about congressional fundraising last week and special districts a couple of weeks ago (not to mention Donald Drumpf). While they do the political stuff very well, we were quite happy to see that tonight’s main segment was a non-political one: credit reports and background checks. We hadn’t really given much thought to these reports, which we suppose we should be grateful for because Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Congressional Fundraising

Before we get to the main topic of last night’s Last Week Tonight, we just want to give a shout out to John Oliver’s latest stunt to annoy rich people. You see, the New York Yankees have made it more difficult for people to re-sell the expensive tickets behind home plate, even though these seats are regularly empty during games. The Yankees responded to people complaining about this by saying, essentially, that they didn’t want riff-raff who bought their tickets on the secondary market sitting with the rich people who paid full price for their tickets because it would annoy the rich people too much. So, naturally, John bought tickets to the first three Yankees home games and Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Encryption (March 13)

The broad focus of Last Week Tonight may have been encryption, but the bulk of the segment was really about Apple’s refusal to write a code that would let the FBI break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. John Oliver and his team explored the possible implications of writing such a code as well as the political reactions to Apple’s stance. We have to say, the episode was a little bit light on laughs, which was probably a result of a somewhat technically-complicated topic. Luckily, it ended on a high note, with another one of Last Week Tonight‘s patented “realistic” commercials. We have to say, every Apple commercial could use a little more creepy Eugene Mirman.

Last Week Tonight: Special Districts

Last week, John Oliver deviated a bit from the formula that has made Last Week Tonight so successful, opting to take a closer look at a story that literally everyone else was also covering basically 24/7. So even though we quite enjoyed how last week’s segment on Donald Trump sparked the movement to Make Donald Drumpf Again, we were excited to get back into a more obscure topic this week. Luckily, John Oliver obliged (and said goodbye to the casual, Donald Drumpf-inspired viewer) with a deep dive on special districts. We don’t know if these even exist in Canada, but we were definitely surprised at the sheer number of them and at how easy it was to set them up in the States. Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Donald Trump

One of our favorite things about Last Week Tonight has been the relative absence of stories about Donald Trump. We’ve just become so fatigued with Donald Trump stories on every single news network and Donald Trump jokes on every single late night show that it was nice to have a half an hour on Sunday nights to think about other issues and to laugh at things besides the latest craziness that Donald spewed. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and last night, John Oliver and the Last Week Tonight team apparently decided that they couldn’t wait any longer to address the Trump in the room. Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Abortion Laws (February 21)

Finally, our Sunday nights feel complete again now that Last Week Tonight has returned. John Oliver continues to offer comedic looks at some very serious news stories in a way that sets him apart from pretty much everyone else. While John did deviate a bit from his no-talking-about-Donald-Trump approach to this election at the beginning of the half hour, for the bulk of the program was focused on something a little bit more serious — abortion laws. Like last week’s deep dive into the voter ID laws, John’s look at Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Voting (February 14)

HBO gave us a Valentine’s Day gift that’s much better than any flowers or chocolates we can imagine: the return of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Right off the bat, John had to improvise, scrapping his planned recap of the three months they were off the air in place of a brief look at the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the implications of appointing a replacement. He also talked about the recent problems that Chipotle has had, complete with a super-honest new Chipotle commercial starring one of our favorites, Andy Daly. Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Torture

This week, John Oliver and the Last Week Tonight team looked at a topic that we haven’t heard much about lately: torture. John took a closer look at the US Senate Torture Report, which was in the news for a bit when it was first released, but quickly faded from the headlines. As has become his trademark, John did a good job of combining the horrors of the torture report with some funny asides (and if he can make torture funny, we’re starting to think there isn’t anything he can’t work with). His biggest stroke of inspiration, Continue reading

Last Week Tonight: Paid Family Leave

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and Last Week Tonight got in on the action by focusing their main segment on the topic of paid family leave. When John originally talked about the kinds of little trinkets that mothers are given at things like major league baseball games (hello, Tampa Bay Rays flower pot!), we thought he might head off in the direction of corporations splashing themselves in pink as under the guise of breast cancer awareness, but Continue reading