15 Hilariously Informative Moments On “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!”

For a show featuring talking squirrels, dancing traffic zebras, and horny space geckos, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has remained a hysterical but insightful show that continues to have a massive effect on the world it jokes about.


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With many of his segments going viral and sparking social changes, John Oliver has grown into a tour-de-force of both comedy and investigative journalism that can only be described as “brillent.” And now, here are 15 hilariously informative moments on Last Week Tonight.

15.

Canadian Elections

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Just a day before the Canadian Election, Oliver analyzes the country’s candidates for prime minister, especially its controversial incumbent Stephen Harper. He ends the show by urging the audience not to vote for Harper, even though it was against Canadian law to do so. But Oliver doesn’t do it alone. He gets some help from a piano-playing beaver, a moose receiving a colonoscopy, and one of Canada’s greatest comedians: Mike Myers.

14.

Trump vs. Truth

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One of the biggest challengers Donald Trump had as the US president was the concept of reality itself. Oliver goes into detail about this by showing how Trump spread an extraordinary amount of false information fed to him by his favorite media programs. And so, the show ends with Oliver’s own “catheter cowboy” speaking to Trump in a commercial meant to get some facts straight into his head.

13.

Sex Education

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Even in the modern era, sex education is a topic Americans still have trouble discussing in schools. Oliver explains the ridiculous ways some teachers and lawmakers try to educate kids (or avoid educating them) and promote abstinence while displaying how these methods give children the wrong ideas about themselves and the human body. To help solve this problem, Oliver provides audiences with a quick sex ed lesson with the help of multiple actors, including Laverne Cox, Kumail Nanjiani, Nick Offerman, and Jonathan Banks.

12.

Miss America Pageant

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Oliver debunked the Miss America Pageant’s claims of providing $45 million worth of scholarships for women. At the same time, he still showed audiences how sexist and ridiculous the pageant is, showing how contestants are forced to give the answers to world problems in just 20 seconds and have access to “buttock-adhesive technology.” To top it all off, Oliver hosted his own small beauty pageant with Kathy Griffin and a chap named Giuseppe.

11.

Prison

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In this heavy segment, Oliver examines America’s prison system and the factors that have led to its staggeringly large population, especially for people of color. He also discusses the inhumane conditions that prisoners endure and how society seems disturbingly comfortable with ignoring and even joking about them. This all makes for a dark and depressing segment, but John somehow manages to make some laughs out of it, ending on a lighter note in a format similar to Sesame Street.

10.

Net Neutrality

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This segment put John Oliver’s show on the map in its fifth-ever episode. He introduced many audiences to net neutrality, the idea that all internet service providers allow equal access to any online content or applications.

In a display of comedic prowess, Oliver took a subject as boring as Caillou and made it genuinely funny and interesting. He effectively warned viewers about the FFC’s new regulation proposals, ending the show by encouraging everyone to send complaints to the FCC supporting net neutrality, which caused the FCC’s website to crash. This segment even got the attention of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for a reason that involves a dingo.

9.

Televangelists

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Here, Oliver took on televangelists and how they exploit tax exemption laws to make exuberant amounts of money by scamming their followers. To prove how easy it was for people to do so, the comedian founded his own church, “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” with his fake wife, Wanda-Jo Oliver (played by Rachel Dratch).

Encouraging people to “plant their seeds” by sending money through the mail, Oliver received an unbelievable amount of money, along with actual seeds, a giant wooden phallus, and several vials of “reproductive material.” For real, this all happened. Of course, the church was eventually shut down, but John gave away his donations to Doctors Without Borders.

8.

Brexit

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Since he’s a native British citizen, it’s not surprising that John Oliver would take on Brexit: the controversial campaign for Britain leave the European Union. Across multiple segments, the comedian explained the ill-conceived Brexit, the inaccurate information being peddled by his supporters, the racism and xenophobia behind the campaign, and the impact it could have on Britain and the rest of the world. In the end, Oliver humorously sums up Brexit as part of Britain’s innate desire to tell Europe “to go f*ck itself,” and he has a barbershop quartet voice his homeland’s desires while expressing how foolish it would be for them to depart from the EU.

7.

Confederacy

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In the wake of protests over dismantling Confederate statues, Oliver chose to address the controversy and examine the history of the Confederacy. Comparing the breakaway republic to disgraced English DJ Jimmy Savile, Oliver argues against America’s glorification of the Confederacy and the racist history it symbolizes. He thus suggests the Southern states use different statues to represent their history, including one played by Stephen Colbert.

6.

Tobacco

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In this memorable segment, Oliver took on the tobacco industry and how companies like Philip Morris International (which owns Marlboro) continued to profit from selling tobacco in non-US countries. He also analyzed how PMI sued some countries for laws concerning how they present health warnings on their tobacco products. To “satisfy” all these parties, Oliver introduced the world to “Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat,” which he offered to let Marlboro use as their new mascot. And in a fantastic twist, Jeff showed up at bus stops in Uruguay and even T-shirts sent to Togo, eventually reaching the top of Marlboro’s search results on Google Images.

5.

Debt Buyers

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In this record-breaking segment, Oliver analyzed the flaws of the debt-buying industry. He reveals how disturbingly easy it is to start a debt-buying company and how these buyers harass and torment their clients with “zombie debt.” And to prove his point, just like with his televangelist segment, Oliver started his own debt-buying company, CARP. He collected over $15 million in debt, forgiving it all on camera in the biggest TV giveaway since Oprah, officially usurping her as the Queen of Daytime Talk.

4.

FIFA

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The “mittens of disapproval” were on for this one. Though Oliver is an outspoken fan of football, he has repeatedly shared his loathing for the sport’s cartoonishly corrupt governing body: FIFA. He dives deep into the sea of scandals surrounding the organization, including how FIFA hosts tournaments in other countries tax-free, has a billion dollars in reserve despite labeling itself as a nonprofit, and has caused the deaths of many workers during the construction of one-time stadiums.

Oliver’s war with FIFA extends across multiple episodes. In one segment, he begged the organization’s sponsors to end their support to drive FIFA president Sepp Blatter out of office, going as far as promising to drink a Bud Light Lime. And a couple of days after the segment aired, Blatter left FIFA, and Oliver kept his half of the bargain. And when Oliver bought time on Trinidad TV to discuss FIFA, its former executive Jack Warner called him a “comedian fool,” and that only seemed to make Oliver stronger.

3.

Government Surveillance

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Government surveillance has been a troubling topic since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA in 2013. Oliver examined how America’s surveillance programs can collect any records with little regulation in this segment. He even went to Moscow to interview Snowden to discuss privacy and security. He also gave Snowden a photo of his privates just to help explain the infamous “d*ck pic” program. This segment made headlines worldwide, and it’s a miracle Oliver did not get stuck in Russia afterward.

2.

Donald Trump

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In the midst of Donald Trump’s growing popularity during the 2016 election, Oliver was incredulously forced to break down all the reasons why he shouldn’t be president. The comedian eviscerated Trump as he dissected his character and alleged success by explaining the real-estate mogul’s exaggerated wealth, failed businesses, insecurities, and repeatedly shifting opinions.

But the cherry on top was when Oliver revealed Trump’s original family name was “Drumpf,” a name not as synonymous with wealth and success. Oliver then started the “Make Donald Drumpf Again” campaign, complete with red hats and a Drumpfinator plug-in, making for one of the most popular segments in the show’s history.

1.

SLAPP Suits

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Following his court case with Bob Murray over his segment on the coal industry, Oliver discussed the practice of SLAPP suits used by wealthy figures like Murray to intimidate and silence critics like Oliver. Having defeated Murray and his defamation lawsuit, the comedian again mocked the coal tycoon, but this time, he did with a lengthy musical number aptly titled “Eat Sh-t, Bob” that is Last Week Tonight at its finest.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other John Oliver moments that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.