John Oliver on the good, the bad, and the weirdos serving as sheriff

John Oliver (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation)
John Oliver (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation) /

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver looked sheriffs, their elections, and the apparent lack of accountability.

Last week, Super Tuesday ensured that election talk dominated the news. But John Oliver decided to close out the week talking about the powers and selection of a different public servant: sheriffs.

The media and the rest of late night television spent the week either talking about Joe Biden vs. Bernie Sanders or the coronavirus outbreak. Last Week Tonight  already submitted an excellent piece on the virus during  last week’s show.

It would not have been a surprise if Oliver followed that up with a discussion on primaries or caucuses. But Last Week Tonight covered that topic during the last election and has also made a habit out of thinking outside the box when it comes to its subjects.

So instead, Oliver looked at the powers that come with sheriff positions around the country. He also explained how these law enforcement officers are elected and why there seems to be a major accountability issue across the board.

Oliver narrows down the possibilities to “good, bad, or total weirdo” when it comes to the different types of sheriffs working in the U.S. It shouldn’t surprise any fans of Last Week Tonight to find out which one of those categories Oliver focuses on in the segment. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that Last Week Tonight wasn’t afraid to name names and point out very specific examples of “weirdo” behavior.

Contributing to that weird behavior are the campaign ads that many sheriffs use to get elected. Late night television absolutely loves making fun of election ads , especially ones that aren’t on the national level. Last Week Tonight is no exception and Oliver kicks of his section on sheriff elections by sharing a shining example of why.

In discussing the range of powers that come with being a sheriff, Oliver zeroes in on the leeway they have in operating jails. This is where the segment shifts from the weirdo sheriffs to the bad sheriffs. The HBO host really starts putting the spotlight on specific individuals here while exposing corrupt and unethical practices at jails around the country.

Oliver anticipates the questions his audience may have in wondering whether they have a good, bad, or weird sheriff. Like so many other Last Week Tonight segments, this one brings attention to an issue many people are either unaware or or wouldn’t consider worth their time. Yet between absurd jokes about a horse Oliver has the power to bring something like sheriffs to national attention.

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In a way, this piece from Last Week Tonight serves as a public service announcement to stay informed on sheriff elections in your county. Let’s just hope this PSA works out a little better for John Oliver than Sheriff Kenney Boone’s did for him.