John Oliver Investigates Daylight Saving Time

by Alicia Lu

Feel a little groggy today? You can thank daylight saving time for that. The entire country lost an hour of sleep this weekend because... well, we're not sure exactly. But let's turn to John Oliver, who investigated into daylight saving time for his regular segment "How Is This Still a Thing?" Like his previous investigation subjects Miss America Pageant and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Oliver posits that it just seems downright primitive to have to change our clocks back and forth an hour twice a year, particularly in the spring when we all glance at our watches on Saturday night and feel extremely irresponsible because it's suddenly 4:30 a.m. and we still have a beer in our hands.

In the segment, Oliver's investigative team interviewed Americans around the country to see if they know the history behind daylight saving time and why it began. It seems like the popular belief is that the tradition started to benefit farmers, to give them more time with their planting, plowing, harvesting, and whatnot. False. This is not the case, say the farmers that the team also interview.

Of course daylight saving time doesn't benefit farmers. Cows don't care what time it is, because they're cows. And cows are idiots.

So now we can scratch the farmer theory. Then who was daylight saving time invented for exactly? The narrator reveals that daylight saving was first introduced during WWI by the Germans as a fuel-saving measure.

That's right, you lost an hour of sleep this morning thanks to Kaiser Wilhelm.

Fuel saving, huh? If that sounds a bit like an antiquated concept, it's because it is. During the war, daylight saving might have been effective in saving energy, but the way the modern world consumes it is a tad different, as you can guess. To illustrate that, the narrator points out that when Indiana adopted daylight saving time in 2006, they didn't save energy — the time change led to an overall 1 percent rise in residential electricity.

Of course it did. Because switching on a lamp an hour later in the summer doesn't really matter when you're blasting an air conditioner and staying up all night psychotically scrolling through Instagrams of your ex's honeymoon to Morocco.

However, the narrator continues, daylight saving time does make an impact, just not the kind that actually helps anyone. In a news clip, an anchor says, "Studies show there is an increase of car accidents and work-related injuries the week after the time change."

That's right — what you lose in sleep you gain in mortal danger.

Despite it not benefiting anyone, possibly leading to more energy consumption, and causing death and destruction, 70 countries around the world still observe daylight saving time. And exactly zero of those countries can explain exactly why they do it, even Germany, "the people who started this whole mess." One German man who was interviewed calls it "complete nonsense."

Complete nonsense. And that's coming from a country that thinks this is a word:
And that this is dancing:
So if it doesn't benefit our energy bill, our health, or our stupid, stupid cows, it has to make you wonder: daylight saving time — how is this still a thing?

Watch the segment below.

Images: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/YouTube