Last week Tonight with John Oliver is not just another late-night show. This show takes a satirical look at news, current events, and politics. John Oliver is not your average host, namely because he is from Great Britain. Oliver started out his career in 2001 as a stand-up comedian in England.
He later moved to New York City to work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent and received Emmy’s in 2009, 2011, and 2012 for his writing on the show. In 2013 Oliver guest hosted The Daily Show, and 3 months later HBO gave him his own late night show.
Last week Tonight premiered in 2014 on HBO and has a unique way of looking at news. Because the show runs on HBO it has more creative freedom and can criticize corporations, largely due to the networks lack of any corporate sponsors.
The show’s running time is 30 minutes so it has to be very selective on the stories it wants to run. Last week tonight begins every episode with images and satirical captions written in Latin. From a desk, John Oliver covers a handful of shorter segments, these segments typically relate to news stories that occurred earlier that week, and then one main segment.
The main segment covers an issue that has not recently received news coverage and is covered with incredible detail. Throughout the show Oliver adds humor to these otherwise serious topics. Using hyperbolic and satirical analogies and references to pop culture and celebrities. The show also uses clever graphics and photos that appear in the upper left hand corner.
Some of the main segments end with mock trailers to fictional TV shows, movies and even infomercials that combines the facts from the segments and satirical humor. Last week tonight is no stranger to social media using hashtags that relate to back to the main segments like #feminism, #Make America Drumf Again (which referred to what might be Donald Trump’s real family name), and #This IS A Pyramid scheme (referring to the strategy used by multilevel marketing).
Some of Last Week Tonight’s segments shine a light on topics that the general public may not be aware of, like the current state of journalism or how the NCAA and FIFA make millions of dollars and are still considered to be a non-profit. The show has also broken down political issues like Obamacare, abortion, the wage gap, the border wall and the global refugee crisis.
Last Week Tonight has been praised for its writing by the Writers Guild of America, The Peabody Award, The Critics’ Choice and the Prime-Time Emmy Awards. In 2016 Last Week Tonight beat out shows like Jimmy Kimmel live, Comedians in Cars getting Coffee, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Late Late show with James Corden and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon for the Emmy for Outstanding variety talk series.
Last week tonight returns for its fourth season on February 12 on HBO. The show, however will not focus on Trump’s presidency, but on issues that will be equally relevant and that have not had enough media coverage.