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"An argument that has the characterizing flavor of bullshit."
April 28, 2014 7:51 PM   Subscribe

The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel.

Among the topics discussed:
- India's upcoming elections, and the American news media's reluctance to mention them.
- "John McCain tells the same joke six different times in six different places."
- The Supreme Court case of Pom Wonderful vs. Coca-Cola, and generally corporations abusing the First Amendment in order to say transparently bogus things in their advertising.
- "Workplace of the Week: The NFL."
- An interview with former NSA chief Keith Alexander.
posted by JHarris (99 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
The NSA, the only federal agency that truly listens
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 PM on April 28 [10 favorites]


In Canada too. I'm impressed.
posted by figurant at 7:54 PM on April 28


does HBO really know he's doing this?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:56 PM on April 28


We just finished watching it from the DVR. It almost felt like actual news. Keith Alexander was completely clueless
posted by annsunny at 7:59 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


This was truly excellent. Looking forward to more.

Keith Alexander was completely clueless

I've always wondered about this. Even if Alexander isn't a Daily Show fan, don't these people do any research on whom they're about to be interviewed by? Even just to work out that the show is a comedy show?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:06 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


The NSA, the only federal agency that truly listens

It's bizarre that he made that joke, given he was running the agency when they took action against the guy that came up with it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:11 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I've always wondered about it too. Some of it must be editing, but you can tell when certain guests are playing along.
posted by annsunny at 8:11 PM on April 28


I've always wondered about this. Even if Alexander isn't a Daily Show fan, don't these people do any research on whom they're about to be interviewed by? Even just to work out that the show is a comedy show?

I read somewhere that people figure "if I go on these comedy shows and either play along or stolidly refuse to play along, I will be getting my message out to people who wouldn't otherwise see it, so it's worth the mockery." Whether or not this tactic works is another question.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:13 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Watching now. This is very good.
posted by zippy at 8:16 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the episode a lot. It felt like the first episode of a show which is going to find its personality and really take off after six months or so. That is not a put-down, just an analysis. So much great stuff in a first episode is an accomplishment. I just am looking toward the future and seeing even better stuff happening.
posted by hippybear at 8:27 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


The highlight of the whole thing, I thought, was the Pom v Coke bit. The takedown of the Mini-Wheats commercial in particular. "Mini-Wheats are literally better than nothing."
posted by JHarris at 8:27 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


The segue from "CNN doesn't give a shit about Indian affairs" to "lol a significant portion of Indians lack indoor plumbing" felt a little uncomfortable.

But it was a solid start to what looks like will be a top notch show. I was a bit stunned at how good he was hosting The Daily Show and I'm happy that he'll be doing it full time.
posted by triceryclops at 8:28 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


What if Keith Alexander just didn't give a shit? What if he's a government retiree holding down a six-figure consulting job who was offered $30k to spend 15 minutes on Oliver's show?
posted by The White Hat at 8:29 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall interview with John Oliver about his new show.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:32 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


What if Keith Alexander just didn't give a shit?

It's possible, I suppose. But that can't be the case for every moron whom the Daily Show humiliates with pre-taped interviews.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:35 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


The big thing coverage of his show revealed for me is that he and a friend have a podcast and that should be a great go to for long commutes or the like.
posted by skepticallypleased at 8:41 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


The big thing coverage of his show revealed for me is that he and a friend have a podcast and that should be a great go to for long commutes or the like.

Yes, The Bugle is truly excellent. I hope you like puns.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:42 PM on April 28 [18 favorites]


I was actually surprised by how Daily Show-like it was. It kinda seemed like the first segment of The Daily Show extended and then the second arc of it turned into the interview. Don't get me wrong. It was good and I liked it. But I hope they branch out and find their own thing.
posted by fishmasta at 8:44 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


We saw him do his standup live and he was excellent. Big fan of his.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:44 PM on April 28


Needs more pun runs.
posted by robcorr at 8:46 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


The big thing coverage of his show revealed for me is that he and a friend have a podcast and that should be a great go to for long commutes or the like.

Oh. Oh ho ho. Ho ho he he ho. You are in for a treat. About the puns though, it's best to just jump in, get the shock over with. Listen to Bugle 208, aka the Pun Bell episode. Good luck, and hope you survive!
posted by JHarris at 8:48 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


Here's the infamous sequence on YouTube. Management not responsible for hemorrhaging during pun run.
posted by JHarris at 8:51 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


"I can feel you starting to stur, Geon."
posted by Beardman at 8:57 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Indian guy here who just completed seeing the 'Indian Elections' segment. It deserves a standing ovation, at least. Well done, Mr. Oliver.
posted by all the versus at 8:58 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


This looks great. Thanks for posting it, JHarris.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:05 PM on April 28


is viewable

...in some countries.
posted by pompomtom at 9:18 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Comedian John Oliver’s TV Interview with Retired NSA Chief is First to Confront His Hoarding Complex
posted by homunculus at 9:20 PM on April 28


fishmasta: "I was actually surprised by how Daily Show-like it was. It kinda seemed like the first segment of The Daily Show extended and then the second arc of it turned into the interview. Don't get me wrong. It was good and I liked it. But I hope they branch out and find their own thing."

Indeed, it felt a bit like they had no idea how to handle the absence of commercial breaks and threw in some skits.
posted by pwnguin at 9:54 PM on April 28


I enjoyed that. Thanks, JHarris. Oliver often strikes me as a reasonable man about to flip his shit because the world is just so insane. My kind of guy.

And if you're only just now discovering The Bugle, you might also want to check out The Department.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:57 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


The best bits of The Bugle are when John sings. There's a montage online somewhere, though the peak may be his rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner adjusted to be about jet skis and hitting baseballs off of aircraft carriers. Which is evidently a thing that happened.

That reminds me, I should once again fill out my voluntosubscription.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:14 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


...in some countries.

1. Foreign content blocked on YouTube.
2. ????
3. Piracy.
posted by crossoverman at 10:39 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


The format felt thin and overproduced and I also thought the Pom Wonderful bit was the best. I'm not entirely sure what John Oliver's angle is at the helm of his own show but I sure hope he finds it. He's so pleasant and I'm a big fan of dissenting political humor.
posted by phaedon at 11:12 PM on April 28


Of course it's like the Daily Show, and they aren't afraid to admit it. You did see what they named the show, right?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:22 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Blocked in Asia... still saw it.
posted by gen at 11:28 PM on April 28


It creeps me out that many people get most of their political news in comedy form. I understand the temptation, but mockery appeals to people's worst partisan instincts.
posted by nixt at 12:09 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I remain amazed that a guy who I knew only for occasional appearances on one of the many comedy panel shows on UK television has cropped up so prominently on US TV. Not that I begrudge him anything, he's excellent. It's a similar story to Craig Ferguson and Tracey Ullman.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:15 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Big fan of The Bugle, so am really looking forward to watching this. In the UK so assume I'll be using a proxy?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:22 AM on April 29


I just watched it and it was way better than I expected.
posted by johnpowell at 12:26 AM on April 29


It creeps me out that many people get most of their political news in comedy form. I understand the temptation, but mockery appeals to people's worst partisan instincts.

I'm not sure why. People who only get their news from the Daily Show are apparently better informed than people who get their news only from CNN, MSNBC or (shudder) Fox. People who watch Fox are actually more ignorant than people who don't watch any news at all.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:41 AM on April 29 [26 favorites]


Excellent first attempt. Looking forward to seeing how the show evolves and gets into it's groove.

I actually preferred Oliver when Stewart was away (it may be just that JS has been at it too long and I appreciated the freshness), so I'm glad to see him get this chance. Hopefully it'll lead to even bigger and better things for him.
posted by modernnomad at 12:50 AM on April 29


I hope sometime on his show he interviews the boy who drew a giant wang in his roof.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:15 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I hope he can drag Andy Zaltzman on there once in a while, as, puns notwithstanding, that man deserves a wider audience.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


For those having trouble with the youtube restrictions, hola can fix that for you with a free VPN
posted by Blasdelb at 2:57 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


I read somewhere that people figure "if I go on these comedy shows and either play along or stolidly refuse to play along, I will be getting my message out to people who wouldn't otherwise see it, so it's worth the mockery." Whether or not this tactic works is another question.

Once upon a time, I believe, British politicians and other celebrities used to believe that. To see how that belief came under attack have a look for this piece about the made up drug "CAKE" on Brass Eye. John Oliver seems to be following the same path to some extent.

[The Youtube link to Last Week Tonight does not seem to be available here in the UK. However searching for the series title brings up constituent parts of the show which are viewable]
posted by rongorongo at 3:00 AM on April 29


I see the show's first episode gets a UK airing on Sky Atlantic at 11pm tonight (Tues, Apr 29). I assume that's going to be a regular slot for it here.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:21 AM on April 29


I'm not sure why. People who only get their news from the Daily Show are apparently better informed than people who get their news only from CNN, MSNBC or (shudder) Fox. People who watch Fox are actually more ignorant than people who don't watch any news at all.

Fox News: It's literally worse than nothing.
posted by The Michael The at 4:15 AM on April 29 [18 favorites]


It creeps me out that many people get most of their political news in comedy form. I understand the temptation, but mockery appeals to people's worst partisan instincts.

I get my news from WBUR, then again from MSNBC, a little HLN, read the BBC world site, take a glance at Boston.com, then I finish it all off with The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and @Midnight (for pop culture stupidity). On Wednesdays, I omit the HLN and add in Talk Soup. On the weekend, I play along with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (and Ask me Another).

What creeps me out is how many people get their news from Yahoo, USA today, Facebook, and TMZ and don't actively seek out real news unless their friends post about it, and how the regular networks are more and more focused on including "best of the web" crap and duplicating tosh.0-lite. When I want best of the web, I'll go somewhere else that I don't think I need mention.

The hour and a half of comedy news four nights a week keeps me sane. What is interesting to me is how generally uniformed MSNBC and HLN would keep me if I watched them solely.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:23 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


How dare you say I take money.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:33 AM on April 29 [6 favorites]


People who watch Fox are actually more ignorant than people who don't watch any news at all.

This is literally selection bias.
posted by chavenet at 4:48 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


No, that was literally a snide comment with a kernel of truth.
posted by tommyD at 4:52 AM on April 29


I'm not sure why. People who only get their news from the Daily Show are apparently better informed than people who get their news only from CNN, MSNBC or (shudder) Fox. People who watch Fox are actually more ignorant than people who don't watch any news at all.

I get that that seems the case, but even people watching the Daily Show or the Colbert Report are still getting their "news" from a comedy show, which seems not terribly much better, tbh.

Independent news media is a rare and tricky thing to find, especially outlets that feel truly progressive as most of them tend to spout some variation of the party line. Even some of the more common outlets--The Nation, Mother Jones--make missteps from time to time.
posted by Kitteh at 4:52 AM on April 29


> Once upon a time, I believe, British politicians and other celebrities used to believe that.

Boris Johnson did it by playing the bumbling fool.
posted by vbfg at 4:53 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Are people really getting their news from these shows? Or are they getting them from myriad sources, mostly online, and then laughing about them later?
posted by vbfg at 4:54 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


That pomegranate drink segment was great. Like the Daily Show, the actual content of the analysis here is much better than what you find on, say, CNN. I thought it was damn funny, but the points would be worth making on their own, IMO. And, of course: bullshit of such a high order deserves to be ridiculed mercilessly.

Also I thought the Lisa Loeb/Oregon bit was freaking hilarious.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:57 AM on April 29


No, that was literally a snide comment with a kernel of truth.

Actually, it was a snide paraphrasing of one of the conclusions of the survey the Slate article was based on:
The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic [news] questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:08 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


So, it's like the Dennis Miller Show before Miller fell down the Freeper hole - find someone who was very, very good at one aspect of a competing show, and then have them expand it into a long-form interview format. This actually bodes well, as the Dennis Miller Show started out pretty good. He just went a little nuts after 9-11.

The Daily Show started out as a long-form riff on Miller's brilliant run with the SNL Weekend Update - everything all comes around again.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:23 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


On "The Bugle," Oliver is the one with more facts, more context, and more justification for his (often very obvious) anger. His partner is also very funny, but leans more toward puns and cricket references.

So while I haven't gotten an hour to watch this yet, I do think that Oliver will do well with this style over the long run.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:15 AM on April 29


I can't remember the last time I burst out laughing upon someone simply uttering "Fuck you."
posted by Scoo at 6:22 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I started listening to the Bugle a few weeks ago and find it brilliant. The first episode I listened to had a lengthy segment on the UN report on climate change, in contrast to, say, any major news network...
posted by kaibutsu at 6:25 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


OK, I just watched it. I thought it was very good, and I would be delighted to watch it again.

My only disappointment is because I was hoping there was an hour of the stuff.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:57 AM on April 29


I guess, the real dilemma I face with the state of news is this: My wife asks me to fact check a ton of the political posts of people she knows on Facebook. I spend my time having to say, "partial truth", "gross misinterpretation", "lack of understanding of economics", "here's a timeline of events for the Ukraine", "The Israeli / Palestinian debate is way more nuanced than anyone would like and there is no good solution for it. The question is what kind of genocide you want to be part of.", "That was passed during W.'s Presidency, Obama had nothing to do with it. I guess you could fault him for working within the framework if you really really wanted to.", "That's a leftover from Reganomics.", "Yes, our taxes went up but so did our income.", "That was from W.'s tax cuts and he wasn't paying for the war he was waging", "Keep in mind that if that person really wants to not pay their taxes that they are hosing the military families they were propping up last week.", "House and Senate rep votes like that are manipulations of the numbers to make that candidate look more politically centered - check their votes when things matter. You'll see them lock-step with their party then" ... and so on.

I'll answer at least three questions a week, most of which send me into secondary research - including the library - because there's something obscure on the topic that I hadn't fully considered that might crop up in the future.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:07 AM on April 29 [14 favorites]


Youtube: "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

OK... let's try torrent... ah-ha!
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:11 AM on April 29


This was far better than I was expecting it to be. It's basically a distilled essence of all of the things about The Daily Show that I like.

They also had a really solid first episode, right out of the gate, which definitely bodes well for this sort of program, especially since it doesn't seem like they had any of their segments "in the can" for more than a week or so.
posted by schmod at 7:15 AM on April 29


I really enjoyed this episode. I like that he had a full 30 minutes to fit everything in instead of cramming it in to 8 minutes, then doing a mock interview, and then a promotional interview.

I am going to keep watching for sure.
posted by Theta States at 7:25 AM on April 29


We watched last night and the one thing I thought when I watched it was, "We need to start watching Al Jazeera for our news."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:37 AM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Nanukthedog, instead of just telling your wife about those things, why not post your findings on a blog, and tell us about them too? You'd probably get a good audience!
posted by JHarris at 7:41 AM on April 29 [16 favorites]


They also had a really solid first episode, right out of the gate, which definitely bodes well for this sort of program, especially since it doesn't seem like they had any of their segments "in the can" for more than a week or so.

On The Bugle, Oliver mentioned that they actually produced three unbroadcast episodes as a trial run.
posted by JHarris at 7:43 AM on April 29


I loved it. I'm a big John Oliver fan, I also saw his live stand up and it was fantastic. I enjoyed his stint on The Daily Show but was glad when Jon Stewart came back, so this is basically the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I absolutely loved his focus on India and the election. I hope they focus on more international news across the board on this show. That's a nice slice of news to focus on that augments what I get from The Daily Show, rather than re-hashing it.

Also, Oregon totally deserved that dig.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:22 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I watched the episode last night, and while it had fully won me over by the end, I had a bit of trouble with the pacing in the first half of the show.

Maybe it is just being well trained by other late-night shows to expect "commercial break as segway" as the standard mode, but the first couple of segments felt kind of overlong and the transitions were a bit rough. The little John McCain and NFL interstitial things they had later on filled the void of commericals pretty well, though. I think they maybe needed one more of those things earlier in the show.

That said, I really, really liked the Pom-Coke segment. It was a strong start overall (helped immensely, I'm sure, by John Oliver's Daily Show hosting experience). Can't wait to see where they take it.
posted by grandsham at 8:31 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I definitely liked the 'All Things Considered' style format, and I would think it'll allow John Oliver a niche of covering smaller or more diverse topics than those on DS/CR.
posted by rosswald at 8:54 AM on April 29


Nanukthedog, instead of just telling your wife about those things, why not post your findings on a blog, and tell us about them too? You'd probably get a good audience!
posted by JHarris at 10:41 AM


Aw... Favorites to this comment are the nicest sort of a "Get Your Own Blog!" request I've ever had...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:07 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I grew up here in Portland often wondering if our little big city would ever get recognized as a major American city. The type of city that when one refers to it you don't have to include ", Oregon" as a suffix because no one knows where the hell Portland is. I wondered if Oregon would forever be a place where people seem to legitimately think we are so backwards that we still use horses as a primary mode of transport and have a dysentery centric mortality rate.

I got my wish. No I know the world thinks we live in a fucking cartoon.
posted by mediocre at 12:46 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I'm a *huge* fan of John Oliver and The Bugle. I like the first episode; it's like The Daily Show or The Bugle, but more pointed and sweary.

Last Week Tonight made some parodies of that Republican ad that tried to appeal to hipsters.

Oliver talked to Morning Edition, and talked about being angry.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:53 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


My life in strange in a way where I run in a lot of international crowds, and listening regularly to the Bugle has saved me face at least a dozen times as far as not being the dumb American in the room.
posted by lauranesson at 12:59 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


listening regularly to the Bugle has saved me face at least a dozen times as far as not being the dumb American in the room.

You mean nobody has ever caught you drawing a dozen huge penises on the wall?
posted by Beardman at 1:01 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Not caught yet, no.
posted by lauranesson at 1:03 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


This show might actually be a good candidate for FanFare if it gets out of Beta, considering its time slot after GoT. Unless it just becomes a joyless political fight thread, I guess.
posted by Beardman at 1:05 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I got my wish. No I know the world thinks we live in a fucking cartoon.

I live in Seattle, and a lot of my husband's family lives in Portland. When Portlandia first aired, I asked my brother in law what he thought of the show. His answer was "Most of the people who live here aren't anything like that, but the people who live here who are like that are EXACTLY like that."
posted by KathrynT at 1:07 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I just want to see THE AMERICAN as a guest, just once.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:20 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I have a friend with whom me and my friends have a running joke that he is the single biggest cause of gentrification (aka Portlandiafiication) in town. Any neighborhood he lives in within 2 years ends up a cultural epicenter of grocery co-ops and artisan bric-a-brac. The neighborhoods of Portland that are like Portlandia are EXACTLY like Portlandia. But I haven't been able to afford living in those neighborhoods in over a decade. I miss being able to rent a shitty house off Mississippi or Albina for 800 a month from a slumlord who doesn't care that you have 10 crust punks and their 8 dogs living in a 4 bedroom house.
posted by mediocre at 1:28 PM on April 29


The Daily Show started out as a long-form riff on Miller's brilliant run with the SNL Weekend Update - everything all comes around again.



What? They're in no way related.
posted by stenseng at 1:53 PM on April 29


fishmasta: "I was actually surprised by how Daily Show-like it was. It kinda seemed like the first segment of The Daily Show extended and then the second arc of it turned into the interview. Don't get me wrong. It was good and I liked it. But I hope they branch out and find their own thing."

pwnguin: Indeed, it felt a bit like they had no idea how to handle the absence of commercial breaks and threw in some skits.

(etc)

This may be the first time in my life I've heard someone praised with faint damns.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:55 PM on April 29


tommyD: No, that was literally a snide comment with a kernel of truth.

FTFA: People who watch Fox News answered a mean number of 1.04 questions correctly. People who watched neither Fox News, nor any news media outlet, answered a mean number of 1.22 questions correctly.

Watching Fox News literally decreased the number of correct questions answered by (1.22-1.04)/1.22 = 15%.

I would not call a 15% drop in knowledge "a kernel".
posted by IAmBroom at 2:05 PM on April 29


don't these people do any research on whom they're about to be interviewed by? Even just to work out that the show is a comedy show?

Watch The Wonderful Moment When Stephen Colbert Explained His 'Idiot' Character To John Kerry
posted by mrbill at 2:34 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


There was a Bugle where John Oliver likened David Cameron to a English colonial viceroy in India--does anyone remember the exact comparison? It was hilarious and spot-on.

Oh, here it is.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:58 PM on April 29


It creeps me out that many people get most of their political news in comedy form. I understand the temptation, but mockery appeals to people's worst partisan instincts.

I know! We'll create serious programs that analyze the news. We'll have experts come on and rationally dissect the statements of politicians and break down policy issues using facts and illustrations. We'll allow enough time for the audience to actually understand the issues and who's lying to them and who isn't!

Naw, just fuckin' with ya. Those days are long gone.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:58 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


That was... I don't know. It was okay. Not fantastic. Hopefully it'll get better.
posted by zarq at 6:14 PM on April 29


The best bits of The Bugle are when John sings.

Although my all-time favorite bit, which almost made me have to pull the car over to the side of the freeway, was John Oliver imitating a stridulating water boatman. "Ow. Ow ow ow. Oooooooow."

(Sorry, don't have a link to the Bugle episode -- does anyone remember which one? It was in a "best of" sub-Bugle more recently too...)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:11 PM on April 29


(ooh, YouTubed here, I think.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:12 PM on April 29


It's possible, I suppose. But that can't be the case for every moron whom the Daily Show humiliates with pre-taped interviews.
You might be surprised at just how full of themselves some very stupid people are. These people who are getting humiliated are going on the show with absolute faith in their ability to be devastatingly funny and insightful. In their minds, they're Jon Stewart going on Crossfire.
posted by stavrogin at 2:03 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


These people who are getting humiliated are going on the show with absolute faith in their ability to be devastatingly funny and insightful.

It should be remembered that the correspondent interviews are heavily edited. Daily Show and Colbert seem to do a pretty good job of not misrepresenting interviewees, but it's likely that attempts on their part to be witty would not be up to the show's standards, and be left on the cutting room floor.

I think this is less of a problem than it used to be, I've noticed the stance of the shows change from interviewing crazy or evil people to interviewing normals and letting the correspondent present the stupidity for them to react to.

And I think in Keith Alexander's case, it's less of a case of a stupid person being in charge (tales of Star Trek intelligence bridges notwithstanding) than someone whose mindset is solidly in the NSA's insular culture, and he may actually be working out of that as time passes away from the agency. Of all the problems with having such a secretive organization, let's not forget one of them is that living in a secrecy bubble tends to have a warping effect on your perspective.
posted by JHarris at 7:17 AM on April 30


The best bits of The Bugle are when John sings.

Ooh weee ooh weeee, ooh weee ooh weee, there's a pope, pope, pope!
posted by JHarris at 7:18 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Loved it. Thought Oliver was far better than any other Daily Show host and am very pleased to see this.
posted by juiceCake at 8:39 AM on April 30


Second episode aired tonight:
- Headed up with various things, the biggest being Putin's invasion of the Ukraine.
- Then a short bit on all the various newscasts that used the "May the Forth be with you" pun. Ugh, local news, could you possibly be more disgusting?
- Then the main bit: a long bit on the insanity of the death penalty. At the beginning he apologized for doing something like this in his second show, but promised, if we made it through it, he'd show us a YouTube video of a hamster eating tiny burritos. He was good as his word.
- A bit telling US audiences about Francois Hollande, president of France.
- A piece of the sultan of the nation of Brunei's "experiment with Sharia Law," which includes things like amputation as a punishment for theft and the death penalty for homosexuality or insulting the Koran. Why is the world not condemning Brunei's sultan Hassanal Bolkiah? Because Brunei falls under the "Saudi Arabia rule," specifically: "If you're a tiny strategically important country with oily business underneath you, the whole world is your friend." The best piece of the evening.
- "And now: People Falling Asleep Behind Politicians"

There was no interview on the show -- the whole thing, an interview with Vice.com journalist Simon Ostrovsky, was moved to the web. In fact, there seems to be more content than just that on the web: They responded to a letter they received concerning the Pom vs Coke bit they did last week, from POM Wonderful themselves. Oliver nearly breaks up on camera in this segment.

It doesn't look like they're going to go the full Daily Show and put every episode online. This is HBO, not basic cable, after all. That's really be tragic though, as Daily Show and Colbert Report have excellent websites that put it all on the web for later perusal and reference. They do have a YouTube channel, which has the Death Penalty, Francois Hollande, White House Press Correspondents Dinner segments on it as well as the web-only interview.
posted by JHarris at 12:18 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


Second episode was much better. I'd still prefer it to be a bit punchier but it's heading in the right direction.
posted by robcorr at 12:43 AM on May 8


Anyone still here? I think I agree this might be an interesting show to do on Fanfare, but until that opens up to more people posting, I'll continue to update this thread while it remains open.

The New Yorker printed a short piece on the show

The "full episodes" sidebar on the official site now links to Episode 2 -- but immediately tells you you have to have an HBO Go subscription -- only available if you have both HBO and a participating cable provider --to view it. Some of the content in this week's episode seems like it would be difficult to keep up at YouTube though....

In episode 3, a good one overall:
- First openly-gay player in the NFL draft. Pretty happy, this bit!
- The Eurovision Song Contest. "There is this thing called the Eurovision Song Contest. It happens once a year, and it is basically the craziest thing you will ever see." Followed by the camera zooming in on the expanse of exposed cleavage of a well-endowed woman churning butter on a brightly-lit stage.
- Putin annexing the Ukraine, Russia minting a two-pound silver coin to "comemerate" the event.
- FEC allows US campaign contributions to be made in Bitcoin. "The currency of choice for heroin dealers and assassins is now perfectly fine for political candidates to accept." $50M senate race in Kentucky, fueled greatly by out-of-state money. We learn that 28% of Kentucky residents don't have internet access; for Alaska, that figure is only 18%. Kentucky problems presented in animated GIF form.
Actual quotes from campaign ads found by the show:
* "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm!"
* "And for as long as I can remember, my father had this rifle real handy" (cocks gun) "...just to keep us safe!"
* (boom) "My forefather used a cannon like this to fight the British [...] and win us a Constitution!"
* "If you're the sexual predator and sociopath who murdered my sister Lynette, if you come to my front door to harm my girls, I'll use my Glock" (dramatic head turn) "...to blow your balls off!" (winning smile)
Keeping with the theme established by those clips, presented are Last Week Tonight's suggested attack ads for Kentucky Senate candidates McConnell and Grimes. McConnell's ad presents Grimes as a chainsaw murderer -- with HBO-allowed levels of gore. Grimes' ad, well, is also something that would probably only be seen on HBO. (Not safe for work or lunch.)
- "How Is This Still A Thing?": Dressing up as other races.
- The danger of global warning. "We've all been asked, 'Don't you want to leave a better Earth for your grandchildren?' and we've all collectively responded: 'Eh, fuck 'em!'" Considering how global warming is supported by 97.1% of relevent scientific papers, "Last Week Tonight presents a statistically representative climate change debate," with Bill Nye and 97 scientists against three climate change deniers.
posted by JHarris at 5:31 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


There's a Fanfare thread for episode 3, by the way.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:03 PM on May 12


Why yes, yes there is! Hee hee....
posted by JHarris at 5:13 PM on May 12


John Oliver on His Hilarious, NSFW, and Totally Fact-Checked HBO Show
posted by homunculus at 12:47 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


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