Review of Last Week Tonight (2014)

Moving picture, 83 hours

Seen in 2020.

Review refers to the first seven seasons.

Mostly “deep dives”, carefully structured and rehearsed 20-ish-minute presentations on varied public affairs, with jokes.

A denser The Daily Show (1996), boiling down Stewart’s openings into less time per week at a significantly higher HBO budget and a corresponding brow. Oliver got this job partly because he stood in for Stewart on TDS while the latter was making Rosewater (2014). The budget comes in handy: The show is at its best risking litigation to speak simple truths mainly for the sake of truthfulness, as in season 6, episode 29, on “SLAPP Suits”, where the musical number escalates from Stewart’s “go fuck yourself” chorus. 2020’s seventh season was instead dominated by unveiled fury at the mishandling of that year’s pandemic, as well as hilarious erotic tributes to Adam Driver.

References here: The Daily Show (1996), 13th (2016), Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (2018), The Break (2018), Patriot Act (2018).

moving picture non-fiction fiction series