John Oliver wonders if John Bolton follows the 'Scaramucci model' after his 'Libya model' threat to North Korea
The proposed summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un "hit a major snag" last week, John Oliver said on Last Week Tonight. "Negotiating with North Korea is clearly the tightest of tightropes to walk, and unfortunately, instead of a professional tightrope walker, Trump has brought is a big ol' walrus," National Security Adviser John Bolton, who suggested the "Libya model" for North Korea. "That may not sound like much to you, but Bolton bringing up Libya is literally the worst thing he could have said in this situation," Oliver said, comparing it to a NSFW conversation between a husband and wife.
The "Libya model" starts with Moammar Gadhafi agreeing to give up his nuclear weapons program and ends with him being brutally murdered in the street after the U.S. facilitated his overthrow. "It's not just Kim Jong Un who is touchy about what happened in Libya," Oliver said. "Gadhafi's death is a common obsession among autocrats. In fact, even [Russia's Vladimir] Putin apparently thinks about it a lot. ... You know what, I'm not actually surprised by that, because if you told me that there is a video that Putin watches over and over again, I would guess it's of someone being murdered. You know, that's his Big Lewbowski."
"For a sense of just how badly Bolton screwed up here, Trump actually walked his comments back" on TV, at least briefly, Oliver said. "That is the president of the United States directly contradicting one of his top advisers — a man who, incidentally, was standing in the room the whole time. And look, John Bolton, how can I put this to you, what you did, in terms that you might understand? Your decision to say the words the 'Libya model' may have put your time in the White House on the path of the 'Scaramucci model,'" which he explains below, complete with some NSFW language. Peter Weber
John Oliver wants finding quality rehab to be the easy part of the addiction solution, explains why it isn't
"Rehab is a place where people can address an addiction to drugs or alcohol, something that until relatively recently was seen as a moral failing that could be overcome with sheer willpower," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, using Belinda Carlisle and "an amazing PSA from the '80s" as a cautionary tale. "Thankfully there is now a broader understanding that addiction is complex and that nothing about getting off alcohol or drugs is easy." Experts commonly view it as a medical problem, and for many addicts, the solution is sought in America's $35 billion rehab industry. Oliver's big message: Buyers beware.
Insurance is increasingly covering rehab, thanks to a law signed by George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, Oliver said, but not all rehab is equal — there are no federal standards for what rehab or addiction counseling should entail, and the vast majority of people don't get evidence-based care. "So tonight let's look at what rehab is and why the industry's so troubled," he said.
Oliver pointed to Florida as "a window into how the flood of insurance money into treatment centers has caused massive problems," running through some of the ways "rehab" centers game the system, like excessive testing. "Urine is so valuable that in the recovery industry it is known as liquid gold," he said. "The final big problem" is that "everything about this industry is incredibly difficult to navigate, which is dangerous," literally a matter of life or death, Oliver said. The best starting place right now is probably trying to get advice from a doctor who is board-certified in addiction medicine, he said, but it shouldn't be this difficult. "So much about battling addiction is really hard. Getting clean is hard. Staying clean is hard. But getting good, evidence-based, trustworthy help should be the f---ing easy part." (There is NSFW language throughout.) Watch below. Peter Weber
John Oliver is a noted skeptic of royal weddings and the British monarchy — he suggested in February that Meghan Markle might want to consider calling off her wedding to Prince Harry, for her own sanity. But of course the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex did indeed get married on Saturday — "as you probably knew if you were anywhere within earshot of CBS's Gayle King," Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. He had video in case you weren't within earshot.
"Perhaps the most notable part of the service was Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered an impassioned ode to love — which led to some pretty awkward reaction shots," Oliver said, focusing on the monarch herself. "Oh, that is the wrong room there, buddy. Because believe me, those are some of the most repressed people on Earth. Talking to the queen about love is like talking to her about the transformative power of the Taco Bell $5 Chalupa Cravings Box." (And there goes his knighthood.)
Last Week Tonight also had some unexpressed thoughts on all the American news anchors affecting British accents for the wedding, and you can watch (and likely cringe) below. Peter Weber
John Oliver began Sunday's Last Week Tonight by cleaning up the loose ends from last week's show, which he ended with a show of shutting it down. "I went to Australia to work with the koalas, but then I learned two important things," including that "HBO contracts are a little harder to get out of than I originally thought," he joked. "So unfortunately for everybody, this show must continue, and we begin tonight with the Trump White House," from President Trump shutting down the Iran deal to first lady Melania Trump asking Americans to "be best" and a White House staffer "joking" about Sen. John McCain dying. "That's shocking, but it's also not really surprising," Oliver shurgged. "These days, 'Trump aide says something awful' isn't really news, it's just an assumed fact, like gravity."
Oliver spent most of his Trump time on the travails of Michael Cohen, "a lawyer so shitty, he made Trump say: 'I need someone good — get me Rudy Giuliani on the phone.'" Novartis, AT&T, and Kremlin-linked Columbus Nova paid Cohen "millions of dollars for access to Trump — which is just bizarre," he said, not only "because lawyers don't generally pitch themselves by offering up info on their other clients," but also "because I just naturally assumed that you gained access to the president by finding a golden ticket in your MAGA hat. Don't fall into the river of gravy, little Charlie, or you'll never be the next owner of the racism factory!"
"We probably don't yet know the full significance of all of these payments, but I would argue that, at heart, these companies got exactly what they paid for," Oliver said. "Because they wanted to understand how the Trump administration worked, and think about it, they put their trust in a political novice who turned out to be a total moron and was actually just bilking them for personal gain." Watch below. Peter Weber
John Oliver's look at the crisis in Venezuela on Sunday started off with a NSFW Ben Affleck joke, but he got serious pretty quickly. "This is not going to be one of those feel-good Last Week Tonight stories, like 'Slippers!' or 'Everything Looks Okay at the Pudding Factory,'" he warned. There's a reason all the news out of Venezuela in recent years has been grim.
You may not have been paying attention to Venezuela amid all the excitement in U.S. politics, Oliver said, "but what is happening in Venezuela is not just extremely important, it is absolutely worth paying attention to," a tragic tale of "epic mismanagement." Because Venezuela is having a presidential election on May 20, he explained, "tonight, we thought we'd check in on what's been happening there, to try and understand how Venezuela got into this mess and how, despite making it even worse, their current president, Nicolas Maduro ... is almost certainly going to win, despite having the support of only about a fifth of the population."
Venezuela's problems started under late President Hugo Chavez, a beloved figure whose expanded social programs and vast corruption helped tank the economy when oil prices plummeted, soon after his death. Maduro has responded with a combination of authoritarian power grabs and economic and political ineptitude.
Maduro is blaming everyone for his mess, mostly the U.S., but "accusing America of creating Venezuela's crisis is about as fair as accusing O.J. Simpson of murdering Princess Diana — I'm not saying it would be completely out of character, it just happens to not be true in this particular instance," Oliver said. "At this point, seeing as Maduro won't listen to reason or to the will of his own people, perhaps it's time to call in the one voice we know he'll listen to," a bird — in this case, That '70s Show star Wilmer Valderrama, dressed as a bird. Watch below. Peter Weber
Russell Crowe pranked John Oliver so beautifully that Oliver plausibly shut down Last Week Tonight in triumph
Last week, the Blockbuster video holdout in Anchorage, Alaska, set up Russell Crowe memorabilia donated by John Oliver, in a bid to save the lonely franchise. "And honestly, if that had been the end of this whole story, I'd have been happy just knowing that we tried to help that store by doing something breathtakingly stupid," Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, "but amazingly, this story actually gets better."
Crowe went on Twitter and promised he would repay Oliver's "wonderful random act of kindness" by using the money Oliver "spent on groin protectors and such" in Crowe's "divorce auction" to do "something special," given Oliver has "often shown genuine love for Australia and Australians." Oliver professed confusion at that last bit, since he's shown "at best morbid curiosity" about the land Down Under and its human inhabitants. But when Crowe tweeted out a "surprisingly well-produced video," Oliver said, he saw what he mean by "something special," given the "little twist at the end."
"Well-played, Russell Crowe, well-played indeed — that may honestly be the greatest thing I've ever seen," Oliver said. Crowe had done the one thing Oliver wanted for Last Week Tonight, he deadpanned, and so "what I'm essentially saying here is, we've accomplished everything we set out to do on this show. Which means, thanks very much everyone, but we are f---ing done here. That's right, let's shut it down, this show is over. ... That is our series, thank you so much for watching, goodbye forever everyone, I regret nothing!" And he dropped his clip-on mic and walked off the set.
John Oliver looks at what on Earth happened to Rudy Giuliani, discovers 'he's always been like this'
John Oliver often takes deep dives into relatively esoteric subjects, but on Sunday he returned to "Stupid Watergate," his nickname for the serious but ludicrous scandals surrounding President Trump. "This week, Stupid Watergate had another plot twist, thanks to Rudy Giuliani," he said on Last Week Tonight. In his interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Giuliani potentially "exposed Trump to multiple new legal and political problems," as well as making a memorably "creepy comment," Oliver said. "Setting aside the sleaziness of calling Ivanka 'a fine woman,' let's not forget that he also just called a living human being disposable — which is pretty harsh, but also, eh, it is Jared."
"Giuliani's interview was so ill-advised and chaotic it left many people on TV [wondering] what exactly had become of him," the post-9/11 "America's mayor" who earned 2001's Time "Man of the Year" honors, Oliver said. "And if any part of you is also wondering what on Earth happened to Rudy Giuliani, tonight we're going to try to answer that for you, because the short answer is: Nothing, he's always been this way. ... To truly understand Giuliani, you have to go back before 9/11," and Oliver did, all the way to the 1980s.
"When you look at all of this in total, you realize that Giuliani's role as Trump's lawyer isn't an aberration — everything in his life has led to this point," Oliver said. "And while he may be providing terrible legal representation for Trump, he's actually the most honest representation of him in general. Because think about it: They're basically two versions of the same person." So "what happened to Giuliani is really not the right question — he's always been like this," he added. "What's going to happen to him is more to the point," and "he is so fatally flawed as a human being that he's probably going to end up president." The clip is NSFW in several places. Peter Weber
If you don't know who Ryan Zinke is, don't feel too bad — President Trump pretty clearly isn't sure what his interior secretary does, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, kicking this off with a NSFW analogy. "Zinke's job is to serve as a steward of America's public lands, although so far he's overseen the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation's history," he noted. Also, Zinke is a serial exaggerator or outright fabulist and, "it turns out, may well be an extremely weird man,"
As evidence of his quirkiness, Oliver cited the fact that like Queen Elizabeth II, ZInke flies his own special flag when he's at the Interior Department headquarters, plus his minting of a special coin and, most persuasively, his decision to grab Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, for a dance during a political rally. "You might not have even heard of him before tonight, but he is an important, deeply strange man," Oliver said. "If I may sum him up in the way he would sum himself up in a campaign ad, Zinke is an oil-friendly, coin-commissioning, non-bin-Laden-killing weirdo who throws second ladies around, and he is not a f---ing geologist — America." Watch below — yes, there is NSFW language. Peter Weber