‘Last Week Tonight’ more than fake news

Published 5:54 pm Saturday, January 31, 2015

I can’t wait for Feb. 8.

That’s because its the day my favorite TV show finally returns to the air for its second season: John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight.”

Oliver’s show, which airs on HBO Sunday nights (with many clips available online), follows in the footsteps of the Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report.” But the show is more than just a copycat in the genre of humorous news and commentary programs in that Oliver’s show has a bit of a different feel.

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While “The Daily Show” and the now off-air “Colbert Report” are nightly programs that include celebrity interviews and discussions on big news, Oliver’s weekly program often takes on a feature-like feel and is more than just a “Daily Show” recap. Oliver does a fantastic job highlighting issues that often get overlooked — like the Indian elections and how America is failing to watch and care for its roughly 4,800 nuclear bombs. He looked into shady laws behind police civil forfeitures, and he called into question Miss America’s claims over how much scholarship the organization gives out each year.

He touches on several important issues. On one episode, Oliver — whose wife is a veteran — looks into the red tape keeping translators in Iraq and Afghanistan from coming to the U.S. after helping American troops — even though those troops are calling for our government to help the translators.

Oliver has a full half-hour for his program and will use that for segments that last 13 to 15 minutes.

And Oliver takes the medium a step further, often calling people to action. He called on people to comment on the net neutrality issue and a few days later the site crashed. Since the U.S. Supreme Court won’t allow cameras in the courtroom, he filmed an all-dog Supreme court and called on people to use the footage to mash it up with scenes from the court’s audio recordings.

Yes, it’s entertainment, is at times a bit liberal-leaning and suffers from the limitations of other comedy/commentary show; however, Oliver makes you think and lets you have a bit of fun in the process.