What Makes John Oliver So Watchable?

Glenn Brock

John Oliver and his Last Week Tonight with John Oliver crew are set to return September 2. And we can't wait.

Oliver, still in the midst of his first season on the HBO series, gives the viewer no other anchor can give, reports the Columbia Journalism Review. While the regular news anchors like Scott Pelley, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams, each get about 22 minutes to get all the news in to the viewer. The "other' anchors, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, have a bit looser format, they still have some time restrictions. And, all of those other anchors have commercials to tend with. Oliver, on HBO, can expound upon any given topic, which he does with great zeal.

Oliver does have one constraint to his game; it's only one once a week, while the others have 5 days a week minus vacations and holidays. But John uses that to his advantage. Oliver has the innate ability to get and keep a person's interest for an extended period of time during the show. Be it three or 13 minutes, you will want to watch the entire segment. This gives Oliver the opportunity to use his greatest asset: the ability to communicate information into fine detail so that the viewer can understand the point he's getting to. He doesn't have to break anything down, he simply tells you in a way you understand, often referred to explainer comedy.

In Oliver's satirical news show, even the most tedious subjects are revealed in a wider context than a topic would on the other news shows. Oliver's ability to draw you in, keep you in, and keep you informed simultaneously makes one wish he was on more than once a week.

The biggest drawback for the news and news satire shows is that the powers that be automatically assume the viewer has a rudimentary knowledge of current events. Oliver does not jump to that conclusion, as seen his masterful take on net neutrality. While no other news outlet, satirical or otherwise, would even broach the subject, Oliver lays it out very simply detail for everyone to understand.

The Week offers a fine example of Oliver's wit and talent is when he uses a pinata as a metaphor for the Internet. The ostensible target of Oliver's ire was the humble piñata, "or as they should be called, the Trojan donkeys of diabetes."

His gist is that piñatas teach kids that cruelty to animals is tasty, and argues that parents at birthday parties should just give their guests candy instead of "trick-or-treating execution style."

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will return September 7.