Last Week Tonight, From Last Sunday, Today


Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver premiered Sunday evening on HBO, and the cable channel has kindly made the episode available in it's entirety online (though they've disabled embedding). It's a solid and, most importantly, hilarious show. It's practically impossible to tell anything from a first episode, but it appears they've stuck with a formula that works (which can use uncensored cuss words, and used them sparingly and effectively). Borrowing heavily from (or more kindly, heavily influenced by) the Daily Show's format, the show is an A-B-C block of satirical analysis and interview segments, playing to Oliver's strengths as a voice of reason, and a master interviewer in the absurd. Unlike some shows, this one shows no signs of early unease, having found it's footing and it's voice from day one.

My biggest complaint is, because they are covering a week's worth of news rather than a day's or a weekend's, it moves through stories at a very brisk rate. Oliver and his writers need to slow down (Oliver's contract allows for the eventual increase in the run time up to one hour), and focus their talents and attentions on fewer, deeper stories, and less on trying to get through as much as possible. The coverage of the Indian elections, and the POM Wonderful lawsuit were fantastic, the coverage of the Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy less so, just because it felt rushed. Tone, attitude and voice, they got in one go. They just have to get a handle on their pace.

Watch the full episode on YouTube.

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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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