Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Last Week Tonight is Tomorrow's Socially Responsible Future

Have you been watching Last Week Tonight?  It might be the best show on TV (and YouTube) these days, not far behind Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert in numbers.  Did you know the states that watch the most Last Week Tonight are North Dakota (questioned in this episode for their hospitality to oil companies) and Alaska?!

Photo Credit: HBO/Last Week Tonight Facebook

Indeed, "TV host John Oliver has become America's social justice warrior" using wit, satire, and research to shed light on some of America's problems.  Unlike the news media who uses doom and gloom stories to show the worst of the world (repeatedly), Oliver and his team use skilled research, writing, and analysis to explain the problem and suggest the most sensible solutions.  Oliver isn't complaining; he uses humor and intellect to share problems to a mass audience along with tangible ways for the average listener to take action.

Oliver finds ways to connect with so many different audiences -- from the Daily Fantasy Sports player/hater to the penny-picker-upper (guilty!) to those who need the legal system to people who love food.  According to someone who has fought for agricultural farmers for decades, "If you've got a problem and you want it fixed, call John Oliver. That's my theory now. [...] In 18 minutes, he did what we've been trying for 30 years to do and that is just reach a general, broader audience. The story that he told, I cannot tell you how hard that is to tell to someone that is not really familiar with it."  When Oliver features a plight on his show - pulling out all the stops thanks to HBO's willingness to let him be brutally honest - it isn't just the regular viewers who listen and learn.  These new audiences spread the word, and so do media and social media channels.  Unsexy topics such as Sex Education and Mental Health now get major playtime because people respect and listen to Oliver, and he's able to turn the conversation from complaints and sensationalism into real action and change.

Photo Credit: HBO/Last Week Tonight

Read more about Oliver's social good effect on Mashable.  Last Week Tonight is off the air until February 2016, so catch up on what you've missed on their YouTube channel or on HBO.

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