John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight on Sunday night and had a lot of catching up to do since it has been several months since his last episode — so it was no surprise that the first show back was nearly all about Trump and began with a genius segment on Trump vs. Truth.
Oliver spoke about how important it is for people to verify facts in this new era, “just in case the Democrats ever find their own appealing reality star to win back the White House—RuPaul for instance. Make America fierce again.”
While Oliver seemed a bit unclear where to begin because much of the obvious about Trump’s lying has already been said, he offered a few great analogies, like this one about Richard Gere’s alleged gerbil incident:
“What rumor do you think of when you hear the name Richard Gere?” asked Oliver, referring to the infamous (fake) rumor that Gere had to have a gerbil removed from his rectum. “Well, here’s the thing: there is no proof that he did that. If you think about it, it’s ridiculous. Have you ever held one of those things? There’s no way it was possible,” he continued. “But, if the president went on TV and told you it was true, you’d go, ‘I knew it! Thank you! I knew it! Finally someone said it!’ But that loop gets much more dangerous when you’re not talking about something as silly as gerbils. Trump validated his supporters’ beliefs about voter fraud, and in turn, they validated his.”
But Oliver did bring something unique to his approach. His “quirky advocacy”, as the NYT labels it:
Mr. Oliver kept that tradition rolling at the end of Sunday’s segment when, after establishing that Mr. Trump seems to get much of his dubious information by watching morning cable news shows, he announced that “Last Week Tonight” would be buying advertising on those shows in the Washington area. The ads, he said, would seek to impart facts that Mr. Trump has shown he does not grasp or believe. Samples included spots featuring a folksy cowboy, which were designed to resemble catheter ads but instead related facts about the nuclear triad, the demographics of urban areas and more. The first such ad will run Monday on several outlets, Mr. Oliver said.
It was one small, hilarious counterattack in a landscape that, for liberal-leaning comedians and their fans, has seemed pretty bleak lately as Mr. Trump and the Republican Congress steamroll toward a new order. The reaction of unsuspecting morning cable viewers, many of whom are probably not “Last Week Tonight” fans, is something we can only imagine.