The Year in Review According to John Oliver

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

John Oliver's run of viral tirades this year on his HBO series, "Last Week Tonight," has cemented the former "Daily Show" correspondent as one of the smartest, funniest, most vigorously re-blogged voices in news. Expect to hear riotous insights like these when Oliver cracks wise in person Dec. 6 at the Palace.

In response to poll results showing lingering skepticism about climate change among some Americans, despite overwhelming scientific consensus, Oliver scoffed: "You don't need people's opinions on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking, 'Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?' or 'Do owls exist?' or 'Are there hats?'"

Oliver argued telecommunications companies-the only entities lobbying against net neutrality-cannot be trusted: "The cable companies will say they 'support net neutrality protections' or they 'remain committed to the open Internet' ... but let me remind you they also say that they'll be at your house between 2 and 6 tomorrow afternoon."

Oliver questioned America's collective ignorance about drone strikes, including the military's: "The question, 'How many people have you killed in drone strikes?' is not one of those questions where it's OK to say, 'I don't know.' It's not like asking someone, 'Who was the voice of Disney's Aladdin?' or 'What are Skittles made from?'"

After a white policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, Oliver wondered aloud why Ferguson police were using military weaponry and dressing in camouflage fatigues to deal with peaceful protesters: "If they want to blend in with their surroundings, they should be dressed as a dollar store."

With Scotland facing a vote to declare independence from the United Kingdom, Oliver compared the nation's union with England to a 300-year arranged marriage: "And I will be the first one to acknowledge that England has been a little bit of a dick since the honeymoon."

During midterm election season, Oliver noted state legislatures have more power than most people realize and that "Congress is like jazz: It's really about the bills it's not passing. It's also like jazz in that most people hate it and anyone who says they don't are lying."