John Oliver continues to be an essential voice in modern American culture

‘Last Week Tonight’ returns to HBO for third successful season


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A promo poster for ‘Last Week Tonight’ season three airing Sunday nights at 11 pm on HBO.

When Jon Stewart temporarily left The Daily Show to direct his first feature film Rosewater, a correspondent on the show named John Oliver took over for him. In his role as this temporary host, Oliver made a few heads turn and undoubtedly grabbed the attention of many viewers.

At the end of that season, Oliver left and started his own show on HBO which took off almost immediately. The show is of a similar nature to that of The Daily Show; however, Last Week Tonight airs once a week on Sundays at 11 p.m. and is half hour long.

The first half of each episode includes several segments dedicated to current issues around the world and the second half goes in depth regarding a single major issue. The format has often been criticized, but Oliver seems to make it work quite well.

Since 2014, Oliver has taken to HBO to tell us everything we need to know about our country in an accent that might seem more legitimate than Anderson Cooper’s. Last Week Tonight has made its name for somehow being a strangely effective tool in solving some serious problems. Tackling issues from mandatory minimum sentences to, most recently, special districts, to net neutrality, and his recent rant on Donald Trump (#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain), it’s almost impossible to disregard what an iconic voice for this generation Oliver is in speaking out against injustices in this country.

Take, for example, his rant against FIFA, in which he publicly criticized former Vice President Jack Warner. Well, believe it or not, Warner responded with a video of his own, which Oliver mocked mercilessly and ended up outdoing in a hysterical segment featuring live flamethrowers igniting behind his desk. Shortly after, both Warner and former FIFA President Sepp Blatter ended up resigning.

With Last Week Tonight, Oliver essentially is running a version of The Daily Show on steroids. Last season, Oliver started his own church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, and asked people to send in money as a way of bringing light to the inhumane actions of televangelists. He also embraced the issue of infrastructure, which seems almost impossible to make comedic. But Oliver recruited the talents of Edward Norton and Steve Buscemi and made a fake movie trailer for it which was absolutely hilarious.

Aside from making the unimportant seem drastically urgent, Oliver also has the unique ability to make any interview seem exciting. In his first season, he interviewed the brilliant Stephen Hawking in a segment he called “People Who Think Good.” Last season, he did the impossible and traveled to Russia to interview Edward Snowden, revealing an unpleasant fact of what parts of our bodies the NSA may have pictures of.

For now, we can expect more or less of the same with Season Three, but there’s no denying that Oliver is getting much better with time, and we can hope to expect some seriously devastatingly hilarious episodes in the next several months, especially with elections right around the corner.