warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

9 Of John Oliver's Best Segments

Adi Radia |
November 22, 2014 | 6:41 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

This "Daily Show" alum is breaking out on his own (HBO).
This "Daily Show" alum is breaking out on his own (HBO).
In HBO's "Last Week Tonight", John Oliver uses his razor sharp wit and sarcasm to bring attention to relevant issues of our times.

Oscar Wilde once famously noted, “if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” The practice of using satire and comedic theatrics to bring people closer to the truth has a long tradition in human history. For instance, in Ancient Greece, satire in theatre was often used as a tool to sway public opinion on political issues. Through comedic exaggeration and use of colorful language, John manages to convey the core issues surrounding top news stories, in a manner that is approachable and entertaining. This hybrid of comedy and news is extremely effective, as demonstrated by the success of Oliver and his predecessor's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

By keeping politicians and members of the traditional news media in check, these comedians aid their audiences in distinguishing between truth and fabrication in the political and media landscape. Legendary stand-up comic and social critic George Carlin once warned, “bullshit is everywhere”. Carlin of course was critiquing the fact that lies and fabrications are all around us, and we are often far removed from the truth. To counter this fog of dishonesty, Ernest Hemingway once advised to, “develop a built-in bullshit detector.” While we should all build up an internal “bullshit-detector”, John Oliver fulfills this role for us all in many ways through his show.

READ MORE: John Oliver Pulls The Plug On The FCC

The following are nine of the most brilliant "Last Week Tonight" segments to have gone viral on social media.

FIFA and the World Cup

In this unforgettable segment, John shed light on the corruption and hypocrisy behind FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup. It was a welcome wake up call right before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Net Neutrality

John Oliver's Net Neutrality rant demonstrated the potential within mass media to instigate political change. The segment went viral on social media and caused the FCC website to crash due to the large volume of comments denouncing the FCC ruling.

Wealth Gap

As demonstrated by the ethos of the Occupy Wall Street movement and French economist Thomas Piketty's bestselling book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" (2013), income inequality is a highly relevent issue of our times. John explains how this can be a problem.

Climate Change

Despite a global consensus by the world's leading scientists advocating for action and several consecutive gloomy UN predictions, the risks posed by accelerated climate change are denied and underplayed by many. This segment is for those climate change deniers.

Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War is over, but the bomb still exists. John points out how the world simply has too many nuclear weapons and how ridiculous, not to mention what a dangerous hazard, that is.

Miss America Pageant

In this hilarious takedown of the Miss America Pageant, John raises important questions surrounding the means through which the organization funds its generous scholarships.


This segment brilliantly exposes the crazy truth behind the American prison system. Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. This has a lot to do with the fact that our prison system is largely privatised.

Student Debt

As documented by dosomething.org,  "about two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans" and "Americans owe more in student loan debt than credit card debt." In this much needed segment, John talks about the scam behind higher education.


Revealing how it leads to the loss of innocent lives, John condemns the Obama administration's inhuman practice of drone combat. In his words, "drone strikes will be as much a characteristic of the Obama presidency as Obamacare or receiving racist e-mail forwards from distant relatives." 

Reach Staff Reporter Adi Radia here and follow him on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.