Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Weekly Show With John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
HBO Televison
Sunday Nights, 11 PM
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

If you miss John Oliver as Guest Host and Correspondent on The Daily Show, I have great news for you...He's doing the same exact show at HBO on Sunday nights now.

Only the sets have been changed to protect the innocent.  The Show's name is Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and it made it's debut last Sunday night.

Think of it this way: Oliver's new show is like getting an extra episode of the Daily Show every week. I always felt deprived that we only get four episodes, but this new show feels like there are five shows a week now.

That's because Oliver follows the same format and in the same manner he did at TDS where he heavily contributed to winning several Emmy Awards for the show over the past eight years.  The pace is fast, furious and witty plus he speaks with that darn charming British accent.

The only difference being that he talks about and satirizes the news from the past week and not the day past.  Since it airs on Sunday a few hours after it is recorded, it's kind of like a funny version of Meet The Press or Face The Nation

The first episode of Last Week Tonight started as if the show was in Season Five or Six already because there was no reference to the fact that this was the first show and John Oliver was in top form.

Oliver and his staff had a lot to skewer in this first night based on the past week's events.

Pieces included a bit about the Foxification of Indian talk news.  There was an interview with former NSA Director, four-star general, Keith Alexander, suggesting that the intelligence organization do a “rebranding” in the wake of the Snowden leaks and use a cute kitten named “Mr. Tiggles” as their mascot.

There was also coverage of LA Clipper Owner Donald Sterling, and a satirical commercial featuring Lisa Loeb for the State of Oregon based on the fact that the state spent 250 Million Dollars of Taxpayer Money on their Healthcare Website that didn't work.  The faux commercial was based on the surreal commercial that the state put out to promote their Healthcare Exchange.

Then there was the piece on the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in the POM Wonderful vs. Coca-Cola Case.  I wondered if that bit would have aired on commercial television.  Coca Cola is usually a sponsor on many networks.  But at HBO there are no commercials, so there is a freedom to say things about commercial companies that you wouldn't probably say elsewhere.

Even before the show aired Episode One,  I was amused about the way the show was being promoted.  On the Newstand for the Los Angeles Times there was a photo of the already be-speckled John Oliver with another set of glasses with the tip of one of the arms of the glasses brought to his mouth (ala Walter Cronkite) with the caption "There is a lot of news everyday to read in this newspaper...let him wrap it up for you".

I mean, Do the marketing departments for the newspapers even read the ads they have on their newsstands?  The industry already is facing problems with people reading the printed news without a television show suggesting that you don't have to read the news so you can watch their show instead.

Even the tagline for the show is funny.  "Breaking News...On A Weekly Basis!"

There may not have been this new show if Jon Stewart didn't take a break from The Daily Show to Direct and Produce a movie recently.  During his absence, Oliver filled in nicely for Stewart as the host.  At the time I thought Stewart was going to move on and Oliver was getting ready to take over. That wasn't the case.  The offers started pouring in.

He admits he was approached by CBS (where fellow TDS Alum Stephen Colbert is going to do the Late Show) but the talks never got to the point about hosting the Late, Late Show.  

When you think about it, Oliver would be a natural replacement for the departing Greg Ferguson. He's quirky, funny and speaks with that darn charming accent.

But Oliver also could be at HBO for awhile.

Look how well the gig has worked for fellow comedian Bill Maher.

No comments: