Since when did civil forfeiture—you know, when the government comes and seizes your house—become hilarious? Since when did learning all the sobering facts about the unholy amount of hidden sugar in the food you eat hurt your stomach—from laughing too hard? The failure of the U.S. government to protect Afghani interpreters helping out in the war, net neutrality, when the hell did all of these otherwise dry and boring yet pressing issues replace fart jokes!?
It happened the second that HBO gave British-now-also-American funnyman John Oliver his own show.
Since last year the 37-year-old comedian, producer, writer, actor, television host and political satirist about as synonymous with his geeky-nerd facial expressions, bad teeth, tousled hair and frumpy suits as he is for his absolutely hilariously insightful take on everything from politics to current events is taking on the world—and the powers that be, and on Dec. 12, 2014, at NYCB Theatre at Westbury—by storm.
His show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is must-see television for anyone who even remotely digs The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (which Oliver guest-hosted for several weeks so Stewart could work on Rosewater) and, as New York Times media columnist David Carr writes in his must-read Nov. 16 piece “John Oliver’s Complicated Fun Connects For HBO,” “already has an average audience—live and repeats—of four million people, equal to Real Time With Bill Maher and approaching the numbers that HBO comedies like Girls and Veep attract.”
Additionally, says Carr, HBO’s weekly released clips of Last Week on YouTube have collectively tallied in the tens of millions.
Anyone who’s ever sat in their pajamas cracking up to Oliver knows, however, his jokes don’t simply dissipate into thin air once he doles them out. Oliver transforms these mostly dark subjects to the point where, as one Press editor who watches his show explains, “You see them in a new light.”
Oliver’s atypical comedy also has power. He mobilizes people, somehow bending and morphing that new knowledge spread through the vehicle of laughter into real, concrete action.
Carr points out the example of Oliver’s skit on net neutrality:
“After a string of jokes explaining the technology, the stakes and the power dynamics, Mr. Oliver concluded with a call to the underbelly of the Internet to urge the F.C.C. not to cave to moneyed interests and demand that the web remain a level playing field,” he writes.
“‘We need you to get out there and for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction!’” Carr quotes Oliver as telling viewers. “‘Seize your moment, my lovely trolls. Turn on your caps lock and fly, my pretties! Fly, fly, fly!’”
And fly they did, says Carr:
“The next day, the commission’s site went on tilt, with a message that read, ‘We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic,’” he reports. “The day afterward, the National Cable Television Association, institutional opponents of increased regulation, happened to be meeting and screened Mr. Oliver’s bit.
“‘They knew they had a problem,’” Carr quotes an anonymous industry veteran as explaining.
Journalism? Rebel comedy? Simply Oliver’s own witty charm, good looks and simple observations!?
All of the above!?!?
Who knows the true secret of Oliver’s success? Does even he? One thing’s for sure, it’s a hilarity aimed at perhaps some of the most important, though often too-heavy, too-wordy, too-boring, too-complicated issues dictating our lives. He breaks them down, dismantles them into a sweet, tasty and addictive syrup which we can all dump over our heads, lick from our lips and face and slather each other in. Uh…. What?
Magic that just might change our future, our world.
“Whoa Tirana, ease down a wee bit, alright? Damn that is way too heavy for a blurb about an upcoming gig—a comedy act, no less, or even a Squawkler. Chill out a lil, will ya!?”
Decide for yourself at this not-to-be-missed gig.
Regardless, you’ll be laughing your ass off the whole night—and just might have a clearer perspective of some pretty heavy topics when you come out.
Or you just might laugh your ass off lol.
For more slap-happy gigs and amazing performances at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, check out their page in The Island Ear!