John William Oliver (born 23 April 1977) is a British comedian, political satirist and actor. He is most famous in America for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the satirical comedy podcast The Bugle. Having left The Daily Show at the end of 2013, Oliver became the host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO on Sunday, 27 April 2014.
John Oliver: Terrifying Times (2008) edit
- Many people would argue that the most dangerous inhabitant of the earth is currently the self styled 43rd president of the United States. Not so much in deed anymore as in word. Because to hear that man speak is to wish upon yourself physical harm.
- I started looking into these groups in America, campaigns groups who want to put stickers on the front of all school science text books saying that Evolution is only one possible theory of life on earth. Now, although this seems like a stupid idea at first, second, and thirty ninth glance, look at it once more. Give it that fortieth view. Because it's brilliant. Let's have stickers on the front of all books! Slap one on the front of the Bible saying "Of course this could all be bullsh*t. Maybe he never died! Perhaps he opened a donkey sanctuary. He had a clear bond with donkeys." Or slap one on the Theory of Gravity! "Look, that's just one man's opinion. Maybe we could all fly! R. Kelly believed it so. Why would he lie to us? What does he possibly stand to gain?"
- But if you think it's going to get any better, let me burst that bubble of optimism now because I was fortunate enough last year to be invited to the First Republican Presidential Candidate Debate in Simi Valley in California, which, interestingly, was exactly as much fun as it sounds. But it was, obviously a privilege to be there and I did get to witness one incredible moment of political theater when all, at that point, ten of the potential leaders of the free world were asked the same question. And that question was "Who here doesn't believe in evolution?" And three of those men raised their hands. And then none of those three men put their hands down and said "Only joking." And their confidence was seductive!
- You might look at the Oreo Pizza and think, "That is a reprehensible foodstuff". I put it to you that that is the single most patriotic item I have ever seen in my life! Hoist that up a flagpole! ... Because that is the biggest imaginable "fuck you" you could possibly issue to terrorists. By hoisting the Oreo Pizza up a flagpole, what you're essentially saying is, "There is nothing you can do to us, we are not already doing to ourselves".
- The world's become so horrifying now. It's too easy to become cynical about things and that's not fair and it doesn't work. And in fact, there is hope for the world. And it is in the form of Wikipedia. Now, Wikipedia will save us all. I found this out when recently a friend of mine emailed me and he said that someone had created a Wikipedia entry about me. I didn't realize this was true, so I looked it up. And like most Wikipedia entries, it came with some flamboyant surprises, not least amongst them my name. Because in it it said my name was John Cornelius Oliver. Now my middle name is not Cornelius because I did not die in 1752. But obviously, I want it to be. Cornelius is an incredible name. And that's when it hit me — the way the world is now, fiction has become more attractive than fact. That is why Wikipedia is such a vital resource. It's a way of us completely rewriting our history to give our children and our children's children a much better history to grow up with. We seem to have no intention of providing them with a future. Let's at least give them a past. It is in a very real sense the least we can do.
Last Week Tonight (2014–present) edit
- Lest we forget, when Europe goes far right, they go far right through Belgium.
- Last Week Tonight: European Far Right Last Week Tonight: European Far Right (1 June 2014)
- When your rainy day fund is so big you've got to check it for swimming cartoon ducks, you might not be a non-profit anymore.
- Last Week Tonight (8 June 2014)
- You have just constructed a straw man so large you could burn it in the desert and hold an annoying festival around it.
- Last Week Tonight (15 June 2014)
- John Oliver: You've stated that you believe there could be an infinite number of parallel universes. Does that mean that there is a universe out there where I am smarter than you?
Stephen Hawking: Yes. And also a universe where you're funny.
- … we were in a situation where, in the event of us launching a nuclear strike, the President's command would theoretically have gone through a man gambling with fake poker chips, who would've then tried to call a drunk guy wrestling with a Russian George Harrison, who would've then needed to send someone with a bag full of burritos to wake up an officer and tell him to go grab an LP-sized floppy disk and begin the solemn process of ending the world as we know it.
- Summary of 2013–2014 reports on U.S. nuclear readiness and scandals surrounding senior commanders
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, "Nuclear Weapons" segment (ff. 0:07:50), c. July 27, 2014
- Drug companies are a bit like high school boyfriends: They're much more concerned with getting inside you than being effective once they're in there.
- As far as I can see, this is a system that has enriched multiple companies and that pays and fires teachers with a cattle birthing formula, confuses children with talking pineapples, and has the same kind of rules regarding transparency as Brad Pitt had for Fight Club.
- Last Week Tonight: Standardized Testing Last Week Tonight: Standardized Testing (3 May 2015)
- For the record if someone did that to me I'd hitch a ride to the International Space Station straight away; of course who am I kidding, they would never let me in, I've got spiders for hands! Internet is mean!
- Last Week Tonight: Online Harassment Last Week Tonight: Online Harassment (21 June 2015)
- In science, you don't just get to cherry-pick the parts that justify what you were going to do anyway! That's religion! You're thinking of religion.
- "Scientific Studies" (ff. 0:14:44), May 8, 2016; in response to Al Roker's advice to "find the study that sounds best to you"
- It's like catching an ice cream cone out of the air because a child was hit by a car.
- He is truly one of the most revolting humans (minions) I have ever seen. In a way, there is no more fitting spokesman for the Trump administration than an entitled, elitist arsehole who refuses to take responsibility for the messes he makes, and who can somehow pick a fight with the Statue of Liberty.
- Oh, why do I love Salisbury? It's simple. The population is 40,302. And their member of parliament is John Glen, a Conservative whose eight-year tenure has been widely viewed as a failure. (open brackets: "citation needed", closed brackets.)
- You'd be doing a nice thing in a really dickish way, and isn't that the dream at the end of the day?
- Britain is basically Pompeii if Pompeii had voted for the volcano.
- Calling slave labor "chores" is a euphemism on par with calling Hitler a "best-selling author with a side hustle" or JFK's assassination a "bad hair day" or this a comedy show.
- "U.S. History" (ff. 0:09:36)
- And look, do I think it’s bad if Disney pays more taxes? No, I don’t. That would be a good thing. I don’t love that it might happen not through meaningful tax reform but on the whim of one right-wing dipshit who’s scared of gay people and doesn’t understand the First Amendment. But hey: Ends, means, what are you gonna do?
- John Oliver thinks desantis is a right-wing dipshit who's scared of gay people John Oliver, Last Week Tonight (May 2022)
- Thanks very much for taking this magical moment and reminding me that joy is ephemeral, pain is forever.
- Hope and joy are crucial here; they are the fuel that powers the ongoing fight for equality. And while there is a lot of fear and uncertainty right now, it is worth remembering that progress -- while not always linear -- is always possible.
- "Transgender Rights II" (ff. 0:25:46)
- The deeper you look into these stories, the more flawed you realize things are, systemically. But the more you encounter people work incredibly hard to change things. Like clockwork, at some point during a story, I go into Tim [Carvell]'s office, who I... run the show with, and we'll say "Burn it down. Just burn everything to the ground." 'Cause it feels like things are so bad in a story, only flames are going to purify the hell that we've built for ourselves. But you do then work through that, much like this shitty hot sauce, to realizing that, in lieu of-— even as you're waiting for major change that you think might not come, incremental change is possible, and valuable.
- From the beginning, America — like most countries — was built on polite fictions by men who could somehow hold in their heads the idea that all men were created equal at the exact same time that they were drawing up the three-fifths compromise.
- "Supreme Court Ethics"
- Whenever they don't want to talk about something, it's probably worth you knowing about it.
- Last Week Tonight (25 February 2024)
About Oliver edit
- On 6th May 2011 episode of The Bugle Podcast John created the phrase "fuckyoulogy", an obituary for someone recently deceased who most certainly will not be missed.
- Here's a guy who likes to take boring topics and make them interesting. If you can do that for an administrative process like the FCC on net neutrality, imagine the level of interest in issues people are even more familiar with at the state level.
- State Senator Cyrus Habib, John Oliver Inspired a Bill Introduced in the State Legislature Today, The Stranger, Jan 16, 2015
- The knowing know that police reform, that abortion rights, that labor unions are important, but go no further: What is important, after all, is to signal that you know these things. What is important is to launch links and mockery at those who don't. The Good Facts are enough: Anybody who fails to capitulate to them is part of the Problem, is terminally uncool. No persuasion, only retweets. Eye roll, crying emoji, forward to John Oliver for sick burns.
- Emmett Rensin, The Smug Style in American Liberalism, Vox.com, April 21, 2016
- When John Oliver told viewers that if they opposed abortion they had to change the channel until the last minute of the program, when they would be shown “an adorable bucket of sloths,” he perfectly encapsulated the tone of these shows: one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right. Two days before the election, every talking head on television was assuring us that Trump didn’t have a chance, because he lacked a “ground game.” After his victory, one had to wonder whether some part of his ground game had been conducted night after night after night on television, under flattering studio lights and with excellent production values and comedy writing.
- For years, Oliver has criticized the estate tax, which opponents, in a smart linguistic move dreamed up by Frank Luntz, long ago labeled the “death tax”; and the tax code’s raft of loopholes that benefit special interests he identified as oil companies and hedge fund managers. Oliver even briefly established the bogus Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption to draw attention to tax-exempt status granted to churches and charities.
Back in July 2014, in an episode in which he lamented the "Wealth Gap in America” (which has resulted in the richest one percent of Americans controlling 20 percent of annual income), Oliver said, “At this point the rich are just running up the score…What sets America apart is that we are actively introducing policies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy,” such as tax cuts and loopholes like trusts.
So it’s a little surprising to discover that just months before, Oliver had a tax attorney set up two revocable trusts, one for him and one for his wife, to hide the couple’s purchase of a $9.5 million Manhattan penthouse. Then he used a tax loophole created by Donald Trump himself back in the 1970s, when the current president was merely a prominent New York real estate developer and aspiring celebrity author.
- Ken Silverstein, The John Oliver Property Tax Scam: HBO Comedian Secretly Buys Manhattan Mansion, Observer.com, May 10, 2017
- No one takes more glee in dumping their shit on middle America than John Oliver. [...] If he delivered the exact same words sounding as if he went to school with Miley Cyrus, no one would take him seriously.
- Derek Hunter, Outrage, Inc.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood (Harper/Broadside 2018) p. 55
- There is no "fact-checking" of John Oliver, Beyonce or Kim Kardashian. They're entertainers, not politicians or journalists.
- Derek Hunter, Outrage, Inc.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood (Harper/Broadside 2018) p. 55
- Over the years, John Oliver has a history of creating energy for an overlooked issue over the course of his program, and then turning that energy into activism through a stunt at the end. He's pointed out how ridiculously corrupt the predatory lending industry is by buying 15 million dollars worth of medical debt for just 60 thousand dollars and forgiving it. He's raised awareness for net neutrality by making the petititon site "goffcyourself.com". He's written a children's book called Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo to combat Mike Pence's support for conversion therapy, which raised millions of dollars for The Trevor Project and AIDS United. That is a much more concrete difference to make than getting a bunch of liberals to show up to the "Rally to Restore Sanity."
- Skip Intro, Jon Stewart doesn't understand Capitalism | The Problem with Jon Stewart, YouTube, Apr 19, 2022