If there’s one thing that you can guarantee from watching an episode of HBO’s weekly political satire, Last Week Tonight it’s that John Oliver is probably going to piss someone off. Whether it be a celebrity, a politician, or a bigwig corporation, the man has no filter. And that’s why his show has been so successful, he has no fear in saying exactly what he thinks and exactly what people need to hear. But, certain individuals may not like to hear Oliver’s particular criticisms, and he knows it. So to stay comfortable, and to continue speaking his comedic opinions with ease, John Oliver won’t be partying with celebrities or politicians any time soon.
In a recent interview with NPR, Oliver discussed his new talk show, and the responsibility that came along with the freedom HBO gives him. He gets to discuss important issues as ruthlessly as he pleases. And to do this, to be a comedian who makes jabs at all of these powerful and popular figures, he knows that he can’t meet any of them. Oliver explains:
”As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you're making fun of also are, because you'll realize, at the end of the day, they're just people. You can't risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it's to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes.”
Last Week Tonight was one of the most talked about shows in 2014. It has a similar style to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report but more journalistically sound. It actually dives deep into real issues, and gives real solutions to problems. Yes, Oliver cracks a lot of jokes in the process or sometimes shows a cat video to lighten the mood, but he stays on point so much so, that it gets the public talking. I think I saw more bits from Oliver’s Sunday night show go viral this year then even SNL sketches. But with Oliver’s strong opinion and well-deserved popularity comes a price. Oliver has become a bit of an outsider. But he explained to NPR that he likes it that way and that comedians aren’t supposed to fit in. He said:
”A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He's supposed to be outside looking in. I don't want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn't be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there's a big problem. That's what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that's a red flag.”
While John Oliver may not call himself a journalist, this outsider quality is what makes him such a good one. Because he is a journalist, especially the type that we need to see on TV. Smart and witty, but still breaks everything down for those who may not be up to date on certain subjects or ideas. And beyond that, he tries to get people involved and speak out their own opinions via social media.
These are all the reasons why Oliver can’t go to parties with celebrities and politicians. Because he is pointing out their wrongs, and telling their fans and followers to also do so. Oliver doesn’t want to go to parties with these people because it humanizes them, makes him feel bad for the things he says. But in reality, Oliver may not be getting invited to any parties either. And we like him even more so because of it.