John Oliver returns with third coronavirus update on Last Week Tonight

John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) /

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a deep dive into President Donald Trump’s response to COVID-19.

When fans last saw John Oliver, he admitted that he didn’t know when Last Week Tonight would return. The novel coronavirus pandemic brought things to a halt and it was difficult to predict how or when a late night show could be back. Audiences got their answer last night.

Last Week Tonight aired a new episode two weeks ago that focused on the novel coronavirus for the second time this season. Similar to other late night shows, it was done in a stripped-down fashion and without a studio audience.

So as Oliver’s fellow late night hosts prepare to air shows from home this week, the Last Week Tonight leader got in front of a camera to once again evaluate where we stand with COVID-19. And like many other late night hosts, Oliver did not hold back in criticizing President Donald Trump and what he called a slow, inconsistent, and dangerous response.

Watch as Oliver reacts to the developments from the past two weeks, mixing in his signature sense of humor while never downplaying the severity of our circumstances.

Only Brexit has received this much attention as a topic from Last Week Tonight. Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union resulted in three different segments over a three year period. The novel coronavirus pandemic now has the same amount of segments in 30 days.

Oliver echoes Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert in calling out President Trump for wasting too much time in responding after initially dismissing the risks posed by COVID-19. Oliver cites President Trump’s original plan to “reopen” the country by Easter and his inactivity on the Defense Production Act as proof that there is a severe lack of leadership.

Oliver doesn’t just point out the problems but he also identifies the solution. Social distancing needs to remain in place across the country and a clear, consistent message is needed from leaders. It sounds reasonable yet late night comedians like Oliver seem to demonstrate more reason than some of those in charge.

The segment ends with Oliver being very frank about the situation but he does not completely abandon optimism. He highlights medical professionals, grocery store workers, and delivery persons as those doing what they can to keep the country going despite the immense risk and stress.

It is not ideal that the message coming from a late night comedian sounds more consistent than some of the things coming from the federal government. But Last Week Tonight and John Oliver have always been a voice of reason, clarity, and humor when it is needed most. Fans are definitely glad to have the show back on the air.

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We will have to wait and see if Last Week Tonight with John Oliver gets back on its regular weekly schedule now. The show could choose to do periodical check-ins like this one and continue to react to COVID-19. Keep checking Last Night On for updates. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.