When Last Week Tonight kicked off its third season in February of this year, John Oliver and his team were probably more eager than ever to survey the preceding week’s events during an election year. With a major party candidate disseminating misinformation, the jokes and actionable segments would practically write themselves. In that sense, 2016 was an embarrassment of riches, an incisive-takedown train, one that came to a screeching halt with the phrase “President-Elect Donald Trump.” This doesn’t mean the fun’s completely over—despite Trump’s litigious threats, Last Week Tonight isn’t pulling any punches. The show dedicated last night’s episode (the last of the season) to Trump, and everything that led to this victory.
Where to start with whom to blame? There was the media (mainstream and otherwise), which gave Trump a national pulpit from which to spew his venom, all while laughing off the viability of his campaign. Social media was apportioned its share as well, since Facebook has become a go-to source for news, even when the “articles” that are being shared turn out to be someone’s unfounded ramblings. It’s not by any means an exhaustive list, but it’s not a bad place to start.
Oliver then laments that hindsight is 20/20 while also warning against the normalization of the president-elect’s rhetoric and tactics. He urges his viewers to take lawful, philanthropic action to ensure that the valuable progress made on social issues like marriage equality isn’t undone. Only then does the host cue the usual year-in-review video compilation that closes out a Last Week Tonight season, which reveals just how shitty this year truly was.