5 Times John Oliver Made Boring Issues Riveting & Saved Us All From The Nightly News
It's hard to imagine that anyone could call John Oliver, host of HBO's hilariously honest Last Week Tonight, boring. I mean, let's be honest: He's even won several Emmys for his satirical, comedic work. But believe it or not, that's exactly what none other than Donald Trump had to say about Oliver and his show. To prove Trump wrong (because Oliver himself would probably get a kick out of that), it's time to once and for all prove that Oliver has turned boring issues into riveting stories for viewers who otherwise might not hear some of the week's top headlines.
Trump's comment was part of the mini Trump-Oliver feud that you might not have heard about — as opposed to the Trump-Fox News/Megyn Kelly feud that you almost definitely did hear about. In October, Trump tweeted that he had turned down the opportunity to appear on Last Week Tonight, which he called a "very boring and low-rated show." Oliver and his team fired back that they had never extended an invitation in the first place. For the most part, the feud fizzled out, with Oliver using Trump's shade in a trailer for his new season and Trump, well, probably still not watching Last Week Tonight. At the end of the day, America has probably had the last laugh, though, since Oliver's comedy has made these issues come to life on screen.
If you're anything like me, you've probably struggled to wrap your head around all of the idiosyncrasies and technicalities pertaining to President Obama's landmark health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act. One of the most integral parts of Obama's plan is the expansion of Medicaid, that program that he wanted to use to cover previously uninsured people. Ultimately, it was left up to the states whether or not they would expand Medicaid and close the gap between insured and uninsured. Oliver recently brought up Medicaid expansion, which he thought the mainstream media had overshadowed with talk of the next presidential election, and he creatively found a way to compare health care coverage to gym shorts.
Ahead of Canada's recent elections, Oliver reminded Americans that there's more than just a southern border to talk about. Because all great American television has to thrive on some sort of drama, Oliver got the audience interested in Canada's elections by focusing on the scandals that have plagued some of the candidates. Then, he explained Canada's system of government. Note: If your New Year's resolution includes learning one new thing every day, this video is for you.
If you ever have 10 minutes to kill and need a good laugh or some random trivia knowledge, I'd recommend learning about pennies from Oliver. You may have heard the random fact that pennies cost more to make than they're actually worth. Oliver takes this one step further by showing how little Americans actually care about the copper coins. (Spoiler alert: It's very little.) Beyond just complaining about the penny's existence, Oliver explains why it's still around despite its value. (Did you know there's a penny lobby?)
You probably never thought you'd hear the Internal Revenue Service and "sexy" in the same sentence. Enter, Last Week Tonight. Oliver knows the IRS is a boring topic. He opened this segment with, "Now I know that sounds unappealing, but I promise you, if you stay 'til the end of this, there will be a very sexy reward." As part of the segment, Oliver finally explained why we all hate the IRS so much: "It combines two of the things that we hate the most in life: someone taking our money... and math." Oh, and that sexy reward? Oliver had Michael Bolton serenade the IRS with a brutally honest ballad.
The rights enjoyed by American citizens living in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, are probably something you learned about in your middle school social studies class but only vaguely remember. Well, here's one thing you should know: Those rights do not include the right to vote for the president of the United States. If you don't know the difference between a U.S. citizen and a U.S. national (it's O.K., I didn't either), now is your chance to learn. While you're at it, Oliver would like you to remember how to pronounce "American Samoa."
Sure, Last Week Tonight touches on some boring topics. I think even Oliver would admit that. But the show itself is far from boring. In putting his own spin on the week's top news stories, Oliver turns stories Americans probably would never listen to into stories that they can easily remember. Not to mention, he's gotten to poke some fun at his latest foe, Trump, along the way.