Just time for a quick recap of the week for the last three months.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is finally returning to HBO and America’s hearts after a November-to-February hiatus this Sunday. Oliver, who has covered everything that he sees fit for parody and dissection to the sharpest degree, has been raking in the ratings for HBO ever since his first show back in 2014, in which he skated past Bill Maher with 4.1 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
His show is modeled as a mock nightly news hour, similar to the Daily Show where Oliver began his career in journalistic comedy as a correspondent for Jon Stewart (like many others, see Stephen Colbert). Last season, his second, especially attracted the attention of many as it tackled subjects such as the Syrian refugee crisis, LGBT rights across the board, the online harassment of women, the decimated American criminal system, and more.
John Oliver even founded his own religion and church, “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” created after his show outlined the ridiculous lengths Televangelists–preachers who specifically spread their word on daytime TV–can expand their own personal wealth by targeting vulnerable people who would watch TV during the day. Oliver, who sat poised in a chair across from his devout Christian wife (Rachel Dratch) complete with massive hair-sprayed do, asked his viewers to donate “seed money” to his church for no particular reason other than to falsely return the favor, much like the real Televangelists can do quite legally. Out of all of Oliver’s segments, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption became one of the most popular, its presence extending over multiple episodes and web-exclusives. It eventually had to be shut down after some fans mailed a different, bodily, kind of seed in the mail.
According to Dratch in the farewell segment, “When someone sends you j*** in the mail, it’s time to stop whatever you’re doing.”
No one knows quite yet what John Oliver and his talented Last Week Tonight team have planned for this season, but everyone can rest easy that the 38 year-old anchor will not have any problems finding material. Unarguably 2016 has been a wild year so far, from the rapid-fire succession of major celebrity deaths, to the continued European war against tech behemoth Google, to the stagger-collapse of the Chinese economy. Any of these topics are ripe for material, and it is only February. This year looks to be more complicated and feral than the previous already, and whatever comes in the following months can only amplify that.
One thing that fans do know already is that John Oliver (probably) has no plans to cover Donald Trump. He made it clear back in November that while the rest of the media were slathering the billionaire all over their political coverage, Oliver would remain above that and not give the candidate what he wants.
However, with the general election nearing, and with Trump’s win in New Hampshire making him look better for the fall, maybe John Oliver will have no choice but to feature the radical Republican icon on his show–even if only for his segment, “How Is This Still a Thing?”