John Oliver in his first episode since April 30 applauded the Writers’ Guild of America and scolded Hollywood’s business daddies for taking so long to offer writers a fair deal.
After a 15-minute rundown of everything Last Week Tonight missed during the writers’ strike — including, but not limited to: the implosion of the Titan submersible, #Barbenheimer box office mania and Rep. Lauren Boebert’s attendance at a touring production of Beetlejuice — Oliver turned his attention to the reason he hasn’t been seen on HBO Sunday nights since last spring.
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‘We missed so much that it would take a whole new version of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ to cover it,” he said, before acknowledging that Fall Out Boy recently released their own, 9/11-infused rendition that no one wanted. “I wish so much that I could have told you these jokes at the time, but I couldn’t because our writers — the people who wrote those jokes — were forced to strike for a fair contract for the last five months, and it was an immensely difficult time. Not just for them, but for everyone else working on this show and many others who could no longer do their jobs.
“To be clear, this strike happened for good reasons,” the Emmy winner opined. “Our industry has seen its workers severely squeezed in recent years. You’ve probably seen stories about writers and actors whose work you may even recognize routinely not making enough to qualify for health insurance or afford basic needs. So the writers’ guild went on strike and thankfully won — but it took a lot of sacrifices from a lot of people to achieve that, and while I am happy that they eventually got a deal, and I’m proud of what our union accomplished, I’m also furious that it took the studios 148 days to achieve a deal that they could have offered on day f–king one.”
Oliver said he hoped that the WGA’s accomplishments would encourage others — from automotive workers to healthcare providers — “to find power in each other. And within our particular industry, I really hope the actors’ union and [the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees], which represents crews, will be able to take what the writers achieved and leverage it to win fair contracts for themselves, too. Because the truth is [that] it takes many people working really hard to make film and TV, all of whom deserve a piece of the pie,” he said. “And for the actors, in particular, they cannot come back to work soon enough — especially because we’ve all now seen what happens when non-professionals are trusted with the written word.” He then cut to a clip of Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) reading sexually explicit passages in a pathetic attempt to justify LGBTQ+ book bans.
Afterward, Oliver moved on to his main story about health care — “the thing ER was originally about before in later seasons it really became more about scenes like this,” at which point he cut to the infamous scene where Dr. Robert “Rocket” Romano (played by Paul McCrane) gets crushed to death by a helicopter… one season after he lost his arm in a different helicopter accident.
As previously reported, Oliver’s Strike Force Five brethren will return to air Monday. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live will host Arnold Schwarzenegger and musical guest Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will welcome Neil deGrasse Tyson and a performance by bandleader Louis Cato; and NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will feature Matthew McConaughey and musical guest John Mayer. NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers will forego guests and kick things off with an hour-long edition of “A Closer Look.”
What did you think of Oliver’s first episode back? Drop your comments in a comment below.
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