Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is back, and although the world seems to have changed irrevocably since it was last on air, Oliver’s shtick remains pretty much the same. The first episode of Last Week Tonight’s fourth season aired on Sunday and was dedicated almost entirely to President Donald Trump. During the course of half an hour, Oliver’s outrage built over Trump’s cabinet picks, his inability to shake hands, and his love of fiction, opinion, and belief, instead anything resembling fact.
The episode ends with an imaginative bit of guerrilla advocacy typical of a show that started its own church just to prove a point. Last Week Tonight is placing a series of ads on early morning TV in the DC area, hoping to catch a certain someone’s eye when he’s watching his favorite shows. They star a catheter-loving cowboy who will deliver facts about topics Trump has had trouble with in the past, including the elements of the nuclear triad, and whether or not killing the families of terrorists is a war crime or not. (Hint: it is).
It’s a strong start, but as with Saturday Night Live, some people will be left thinking: is this it? Is this all we’ve got? Last Week Tonight made its name by picking apart complex issues with fact-filled rebuttals backed by primary sources. But, as Oliver himself points out, the president of the United States is someone who doesn’t care about facts right now, so what good do they do? Well, maybe he’ll listen to that cowboy instead.