On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, the flexibility when it comes to addressing content on the show is something that the show’s host, comedian John Oliver, is cognizant of as he gets ready to begin the program’s fifth season. He’s aware that the business model of the network, which is reliant on its subscribers and not sponsors, is one that trips up many other shows that attempt to tackle tough topics.
The British-born Oliver was hired to host the show in the wake of rave reviews as Jon Stewart’s temporary substitute on The Daily Show back in 2014. Last Week Tonight is similar in that actual news is dissected through a humorous prism. The difference is that Oliver’s current show takes up much of its weekly program with a single topic, as opposed to the three different segments of The Daily Show.
The 13 months that President Donald Trump has been in office might have conceivably offered weekly content to mine, yet Oliver and his staff only periodically delve into administration-based stories. Instead, a deeper look at unheralded stories that get very little attention from either over-the-air news staffs or the three cable news outlets is provided. Many of these might ordinarily be seen as dry stories without the humor component.
One of the key reasons that this approach is taken is that attempting to cover stories once a week when talk show hosts and other comedy programs do it on a night basis runs the risk of offering stale content.
Given the fact that the show is on HBO also allows Oliver to be unburdened when it comes to language, since the network isn’t under the same restrictions as most other competitors. What ends up being delivered by Oliver is often biting in nature and occasionally causes the intended target to angrily dispute the claims made. However, being a comedian means that a show that lacks humor will return John Oliver to the standup circuit.