Last year, during the major hubbub about Net Neutrality, there were tons of videos posted to YouTube saying the same thing – it’s necessary to protect the equality of access to sites and services on the Internet. One of the best was that from John Oliver’s (then) new HBO Program, Last Week Tonight –
In the video, which was the first time that I had seen something from his program, he likened the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to a dingo taking care of a baby, since he was a former lobbyist for the largest cable TV provider in the country, Comcast. This video got over 9 million views, and garnered over 45,000 comments about the subject on the FCC’s website.
Hilariously, the segment forced the Chairman to respond to the allegations of being a dingo by categorically denying that he was one, which led to a brilliant follow-up from Oliver.
As the rest of 2014 went on, more videos came out on topics ranging from FIFA to Sugar, and even shorts on the Indian Election and problem gambling in Singapore, and a series on the other Presidents of the Not-USA, including one on everyone’s least favourite politician, Tony Abbott.
For a bit of background, John Oliver got his own show after working for quite a few years on the Daily Show. It’s somewhat disappointing that he didn’t get the full time job after Jon Stewart leaves, but it’s all the better for everyone that he has this platform.
Why do I like the show?
It’s a show that blends a lot of good things together – the news, politics, even sport and activism. Oliver sends powerful messages and is really educational. The fact that he includes comedy in the discussions is a huge draw for me. In essence, it’s like the Daily Show without the long and boring interview segments (though he has done interviews, such as with Edward Snowden), and focusing on one major topic instead of dabbling in many minor topics.
Not only that, you learn a lot in the show. Not just about normal things like the politicians who run the country, but about the things behind the functionality of the country, such as Municipal Violations, the Lottery, and even Municipal funding for sports stadia – of which we’re now paying for two stadia for teams, the Milwaukee Brewers (via a 0.01% sales tax in only 5 counties), and now the Bucks (via municipal bonds that the whole state is paying for). Too bad we couldn’t just say No. But that’s a rant for another time!
Are you interested?
You can catch Last Week Tonight on Sundays at 11PM ET/PT on HBO, and throughout the week on the various HBO channels. Full episodes are also available on HBO ON Demand and HBO Go for cable or satellite subscribers. If you don’t have a pay TV service, you can subscribe to HBO NOW to watch full episodes as well.
Of course, the easiest way to catch the best bits (although they do bleep out the “fucks” from the clips) is to watch the videos on the Last Week Tonight YouTube Channel. All the videos there are free, but some of the videos are geoblocked to the USA only – such as the Sports Stadium video, probably due to sports video included in the clip. Clips are usually posted within a few hours of the show airing.