John Oliver stakes his claim to late night
Plenty is happening in the world of political news satire, as Stephen Colbert recently announced he will be ending his show The Colbert Report in late December in order to succeed David Letterman as the host of The Late Show. Among the competitors vying to take over as satire royalty, it seems former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver is well on his way with his new show Last Week Tonight.
So is his show any good? The short answer is yes. Much like Oliver’s work with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Last Week Tonight has all the same kind of gags that made it successful, all while pairing brilliantly with Oliver’s smart, intelligent hosting, that guarantees a laugh every time you tune in.
Part of this success is due to the fact that by making the show a weekly segment, it allows Oliver and his team to pick through what they deem the most important news events in the week, which means the chance of a slow news day, is significantly less likely. While this may be frustrating to fans wanting more, it helps reduce some of the weaknesses other satire programs have, in that each episode feels more balanced in its relevancy, leaving behind unwanted fluff.
Still, for all the laughs Last Week Tonight offers, one can’t help but wonder if we really need another satire show while the The Daily Show, Colbert Report and online publications like The Onion continue so successfully. In fact, another Daily Show alumnus Larry Wilmore is soon to host his own show called The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore leaving the competition all the more crowded.
So do we need another fake news satire show? Again, in the case of Last Week Tonight my answer is yes. Like The Daily Show and Colbert Report, Oliver has created something that has done more than make people laugh; it is helping change modern political discourse. Despite their roots in humour, late-night comedy programming has a become an integral part of our political process as highlighted by the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger chose it as a platform to announce his recent run for office.
While Oliver has yet to have a major politician as a guest, his coverage on high profile issues like the World Cup and net neutrality have already produced viral levels of attention and have received responses from some of the people they’ve targeted including Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
So while it’s just the beginning and his style still heavily reflects its roots, it seems Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is well on its way to becoming one of your favourite sources for helping you stay laughing, while staying informed.