ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Have you been watching HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver?

If you have, you probably already know that the British comedian and political commentator is one of the funniest people on TV. He's also incredibly astute, not only mocking the past week in news with a sharp wit rarely matched, but making sure it goes viral... every week.

In fact, you've probably seen him in action without ever having watched his HBO show, and if not, well, there's no time like the present to indulge in a bit of high-brow humor. Check out Oliver's brilliantly satirical look at Republican politicians skirting gay issues.

(Skip to 10 minutes in for the best joke about wedding cakes you'll hear all year).

So, how does an ordinary guy from Birmingham, England get over 5 million weekly clicks on videos which happily mock over half of the US population?

For starters, he's funny. Like, really funny, the kind you can't fake. If for some reason you're in any doubt about that, cast your eyes on the following words.

For the record, being gay is clearly not a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice is when a man gets obnoxiously into jazz, or goes on an Atkins diet and starts a food blog called Protein Wolf. Both of which, you should actually be fired for.

See? John Oliver has a way with words which simply eludes most of us. But he's got a few other weapons in his arsenal, like his recurring references to Janice from Accounting...

Don't we all know a Janice in accounting? That one guy or gal in the office who swipes the chicken salad you left on the top shelf of the fridge and forgot about until 4pm, only to find it mysteriously gone? That's why the joke lands.

Not that Oliver is the only intelligent TV host who knows how to get a joke to go viral - witness this classic compilation of Conan O'Brien's various interviews with Paul Rudd, who always has a new movie to promote and always pulls exactly the same stunt...

But late night chat show hosts like Conan have an air of boredom or cynicism which Oliver avoids, preferring to happily take the piss out of anything and everything. He doesn't think of himself as a journalist...

[The show is] not journalism, it’s comedy—it’s comedy first, and it’s comedy second.

And he has an excellent eye for a visual gag, like this price comparison between H&M's unbelievably cheap $5 dress and two hours of torture on DVD...

We've become so used to seeing videos of cats being terrified by cucumbers go viral that it's actually really refreshing to see that people still devote a bit of time in their busy lives to something with a little more intellect.

Last Week Tonight finished its second season in November and begins again on HBO in February. Will you be watching?


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