John Oliver
Oliver's show has won several Emmy awards. (Image via The Daily Beast)

The 4 Best ‘John Oliver’ Bits of All Time

Late nights wouldn't be half as fun, or as British, without John Oliver around.
August 21, 2018
7 mins read

From guest-starring on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” to running his own late-night talk show, John Oliver is a man unlike any other when it comes to political commentary. The HBO show host offers hilarious yet insightful takes on current events of all avenues, often ranting in his lovely British tongue which only makes him all the more enjoyable to watch.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has now been running for five seasons and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Oliver delivers a fairly unbiased broadcast and his show is a perfect blend of humor and knowledge that is sure to keep you updated on the world’s crazy happenings. Although every single show is jam-packed with memorable moments and quotes, here are the four most memorable bits from Oliver’s show.

1. Televangelists

Oliver offered his audience a life-changing religious experience back in August 2015 when he exposed the twisted reality of television evangelists and the prospect of “seed faith.” By using the media to spread the word of God, televangelists preach to worldwide audiences and claim that any and all donations will be used for ministry purposes only.

The idea of “seed faith” promises endless wealth and blessings so long as you donate for religious gain. The more “seeds” you plant, the bigger your harvest. To a level-headed individual, this is obvious crap. However, to someone living out of desperation because of sickness or credit card debt, this prophecy doesn’t seem like too bad of a gig.

The talk show host hilariously rants about how corruptly this system operates, and even explains that televangelists are able to abuse their donations so heavily because church entities (whether self-proclaimed or official) are all tax exempt. Because of this, Oliver does the only reasonable thing a man can do in this situation, and establishes his own tax exempt church.

“Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” the beautiful brainchild of the “Last Week Tonight” crew, was done 100 percent legally. Oliver consulted with a tax lawyer and made sure every step to establishing his own church entity was done correctly, explaining that the task was “disturbingly easy.”

Unfortunately, “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption” had to be shut down after receiving bountiful donations, both in the form of tax-free dollars and, well, peoples’ interpretations of “seeds.” I’ll let you fill in the blanks of what this could mean, because your guess is probably correct.

2. Supreme Court Dogs

In October 2014, Oliver did an in-depth segment on the Supreme Court, discussing and highlighting important aspects about “the highest court in the land.” One thing Oliver focused on was the lack of transparency with allowing cameras in the decision-making process for important verdicts, only allowing the release of audio recordings. After a very lengthy and hilarious segment on the justices, he announced his solution to this “problem” with the hashtag  #RealAnimalsFakePaws.

The 41-year-old Brit and his writing team collectively picked dogs they felt embodied the essence and presence of the justices. They personified these dogs by dressing them in black robes and placing them in a courtroom setting, even playing released audio from real-life cases.

On the “Last Week Tonight” YouTube page, they have released hours of these videos with the descriptions urging media or anyone needing footage of the Supreme Court to use their footage: “Cameras aren’t allowed in the Supreme Court, so most coverage of our most important cases looks like garbage. We fixed that problem with real animals and fake paws. Feel free to take our footage.” Also, as a completely out of left field bonus, there is a chicken as a stenographer.

3. Catheter Cowboy

In late 2017, Oliver took a very in-depth look into the Trump presidency (one of many), focusing on his turn of phrases, and ultimately how he is perceived as a president. The long segment ended with the host going over the President’s Twitter account and not only figuring out when he watched television but also what programs he enjoyed. Oliver then informs his viewers that the show has made a series of duplicate joke ads mimicking similar ads about catheters that will run regularly on the Presidents’ favorite programs.

These parody commercials feature the same “catheter cowboy” and have him giving a slew of information in multiple 30-45 second clips. Oliver said he used his HBO budget to pay for commercials to run during these shows in the D.C. area to try and “sneak info to the president” on incredibly difficult topics such as the nuclear triad, to less serious topics like women’s anatomy.

4. And Now This

Another reoccurring bit from the Emmy-award winning HBO show is a segment called “And Now This.” Always jam-packed with hilarious puns, “And Now This” offers light comedic relief after discussions of heavy topics. The bit has ranged from newscasters accidentally drawing penises on weather maps to the awkward sexual tension between “CBS This Morning” hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose.

The segments always promise a good laugh and a breath of fresh air. Although Oliver’s show is full of light moments, “And Now This” is an extra special piece that has become a viewer favorite.

Tori Ihnen, Fort Hays State University

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Tori Ihnen

Fort Hays State University

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