What to Expect from 'Last Week Tonight' Season 4
John Oliver is back next month.
Last Week Tonight is due for a comeback, and it can’t come soon enough. John Oliver’s Sunday night HBO talk show has earned acclaim for its comedic investigations into politics and power, and Season 4 should be no different. The new season, which premieres on February 12, will bring Oliver’s journalistic magnifying glass to a whole new year of scandals. Barely two weeks into 2017, he’ll have plenty to work with.
Since his third season finished on November 19, Oliver has made a few public appearances. On December 12 he performed alongside Michael Che, Bob Saget, and Jeff Ross at the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF)’s annual New York gala. In the new year, Oliver took to the streets of New York City with Billy Eichner to find out what gay people think of John Oliver. The answer, as it turns out, is not a lot, if this clip is any indication:
But the bread and butter of Oliver’s career is definitely Last Week Tonight, so it’ll be interesting to see how late night TV’s best British host tackles the issues. Here’s what we want to see from Season 4:
Donald Trump — Yes, this almost goes without saying, but it would be incredibly surprising if Oliver has nothing to say about America’s then-inaugurated next president. Oliver finished his last season detailing the specific groups liberals need to donate to under Trump, and considering the amount of coverage around recent Trump revelations, Oliver will need to find something unique to bring to the conversation as he did last year.
French election — The next potential major clusterfuck, France is set to elect its next president in April. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate from the National Front, is leading in opinion polls. Oliver has a tendency to cover non-U.S. developments through an American lens, so he might choose to cover Le Pen from the perspective of Trump and the general rise in right-wing populism.
The growing sense that the world is not okay — Indeed, 2017 is likely to continue where 2016 left off: with growing wonder that global sentiment is shifting towards an isolationist worldview that ditches any attempts at using cooperation to solve the big issues of our time. Will the polar ice caps melt? Will unemployment rise as automation takes over jobs? It’s all to play for, and Oliver is likely to have some witty insights into this growing unease.
A bit more self-awareness — With all the big events of 2016, a growing idea emerged that these events were surprising because people live in “echo chambers,” only ever hearing viewpoints from people that already agreed with them. John Oliver is no exception to this, and in fact a clip from Last Week Tonight shows he previously urged Trump to run as he didn’t think the American public would elect him:
There’s a lot to consider about how people can break down these echo chambers, but Oliver acknowledging this chamber may help his show in the new year. If he knows that he’s speaking to a slim subset of the American public, it could help him tailor his message with that in mind.