John Oliver is going to start the revolution. OK, maybe not the revolution, but he’s definitely starting something. Oliver, host of HBO’s weekly news satire program Last Week Tonight, is causing a serious stir in many places of high power. No one is exempt, no heads of states, no heads of corporations, and no…what’s inside your head– your brain! …whatever, you get the point.
Oliver, who honed his satirical whip on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, has carried over that basic format while successfully raising it to the next level. The main difference to Oliver’s new show is that it is not beholden to any corporate sponsorships. No commercials means we get an extra 8-minutes of material that are normally devoted to shilling out cars, McDonalds McWraps, and prescription drugs (sigh, if I only knew McDonalds existed I would eat there more). Oliver has already become famous for his extended rants against the willful A-Holes of the world, like FIFA and it’s chairman Sepp Blatter.
Living free of corporate douchiness is much bigger than being free to drop F-bombs, or even bigger than showing the occasional dick pick*–it’s not TV, it’s HBO bitches! It’s bigger because it allows Oliver to serve up a steaming plate of truth–a rare delicacy Americans are largely in deficit of these days. For example, if GM is knowingly selling people cars with defects that may or may not be responsible for 13 deaths, Oliver can hold them accountable without the fear of losing the sponcerships that makes his show go. Very few news shows are exempt from this fear. This is huge. The truth all smothered with delicious comedy sauce. Yum.
Oliver is a genius at making the complexities of the normally dull, super important news of society into something hilariously engaging. Probably the best example of this is when he let loose a 13-minute tirade against the FCC and internet providers who are trying to do away with net neutrality. The man responible for this decision, chairmain of the FCC Tom Wheeler, was formerly a top lobbyist for telecommunication companies. Conflict of interest? Oliver likened it to “needing a babysitter, and hiring a dingo.” Later in the segment he shared that the FCC was actually taking comments on the matter, and implored all internet commenters to, “once in your life, focus your indiscriminate rage into a useful direction.”
And the best part of it is that it actually worked. The FCC was flooded with so many comments that it crashed their servers for 36 hours. And, just as delicious, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler took time in a real public FCC meeting to respond to the Dingo comment. Predictably, Wheeler said he, “is not a dingo.” But, as Oliver pointed out, that’s exactly what a dingo would say.
Oliver is a modern day court Jester. He’s the dude that tells you what you don’t want to hear, but you listen anyway because he’s so damn funny as does it. Do we really want to talk about the death penalty? Are Native Americans still upset about that Washington Redskins thing? Didn’t that whole climate change thing go away already? Somewhere inside most of us we know the answers to these questions. In a media landscape where important things often get lost in the din, John Oliver is making us to take notice.
Click through to see John Oliver crushing it!
*Video of this exists. One should consider before viewing, because once it has been seen in cannot be unseen.
See which Brit is causing the ruckus.