Last Week Tonight: Puppets Making Everything Less Depressing


By Joshua Axelrod

There’s just something irresistible about John Oliver as a performer. I think it’s the delightful accent combined with his ability to find the humor in the obvious. For example, see the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.36.43 PM

Yes, John, we get it. “The egg is going to get f*cked against its will.” But somehow when he points out the obvious, it’s hilarious. Some comedians have that intangible skill to make anything funny. Oliver is definitely one of them.

Anyway, this week’s “Last Week Tonight” (oy vey) gave Oliver the challenge of turning the Israel/Gaza conflict and the Malaysian Airlines plane crash in the Ukraine into comedy. And as usual, he knocked it out of the park.

He pointed out that the conflict, like Anderson Cooper’s face, hasn’t changed in years. Unlike, say, Oliver himself:

"I've been ravaged by time!"

“I’ve been ravaged by time!”

Oliver also correctly pointed out just how somber the big stories this week were. “‘The ‘Leftovers’ was less depressing than this.” Which was the perfect segue into crippling gambling debt in Singapore! As usual, his parody was spot on, with this faux commercial involving the world’s cutest gambling addicts:

He went onto question why Britain’s Commonwealth Games (“an off-Broadway version of the Olympics) were still a thing before launching into his diatribe about how broken the American prison system is. It had everything: pop culture references, puppets, racial profiling. Seriously though, puppets:

Sorry little alligator, zoos aren’t prisons. Go find yourself a sadder sob story about where your dad is locked up, then we’ll pretend to notice the difference between alligators and crocodiles.

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