It’d be heartening to say that John Oliver finally saw that there was something other than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to do a Last Week Tonight main story about on Sunday. And the fact that his subject was the United States Postal Service was a hopeful sign—at least until Oliver started off his segment by noting how over 1,000 postal workers have contracted the virus through their essential work while 40 have died. God. Dammit.
And risking infectious death every single day they’re out there delivering your mail isn’t even the greatest existential threat facing the Post Office’s more than half a million employees these days. Apart from unruly dogs and unflattering shorts, postal workers’ biggest nemesis at the moment is, like so many living things on this planet, Donald Trump. As Oliver laid out, the Trump administration’s current vendetta against the unassuming yet vital USPS could stem from a lot of things—as long as you take into account how literally every decision Trump makes is based on the game Oliver calls, “six degrees of ‘how is this about me?’” There’s the fact that Trump and the Republican Party seem suspiciously hell-bent on destroying this vital informational pipeline (projected to possibly go under as early as this September) right when the pandemic-hobbled United States is facing a massive push for mail-in voting in an election year. Or that 202 is the year of the decennial Census, something Trump and his collaborators have sought to suppress through every shady means possible.
Then there’s the fact that Trump just really, really hates Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Now, there are plenty of reasons to hate Jeff Bezos (from tax dodging, to Amazon’s predatory practices, to Amazon’s treatment of its workers, to those leaked dick pics absolutely nobody on Earth was asking for). But, as Oliver notes, Trump’s grudge against Amazon (which provides a lot of USPS revenue) can be traced to a rich guy dick-measuring contest of a more metaphorical nature, as the Bezos-owned (but thankfully independent) Washington Post represents one of the country’s most vocal Trump critics. (In that the newspaper routinely publishes actual facts about Trump’s innumerable crimes, gaffes, and daily outrages against humanity, sanity, and the English language.) With Trump pushing for the USPS to be shitcanned, privatized, and altogether turned into another wealth-generating (for a few), price-gouging commercial entity, Oliver examined how the Post Office’s problems stem from one completely unfair and crippling piece of legislation, and—Oliver being Oliver—provided one cheeky and nifty solution.
Unveiling a line of totally legitimate official Last Week Tonight stamps you can use to mail that Mother’s Day card you forgot tom send in time for Sunday’s holiday, you ungrateful piece of shit (Oliver’s words), Oliver directed viewers to buy some stamps, already. Featuring such beloved Last Week Tonight icons as ChiJohn, Bolivian Zebra, and Mr. Nutterbutter, all the profits from these stamps (available until June 15) will go directly to bailing out the USPS. As Oliver explains while trashing failed Fox News bad take machine and failed Queer Eye makeover of Geraldo Rivera, John Stossel (Oliver’s words), apart from braving the pandemic to bring you those late and apologetic Mother’s Day cards, the Post Office is a vital lifeline for rural residents, prescription medicine recipients, people without internet access, and lots more underserved Americans Trump and his cronies like Stossel hand-wave away as irrelevant. (Read: poor.) And if one were to, say, buy a whole sheet of John Oliver-branded postage and use it to send strongly worded hate mail to their Republican lawmakers about their current and ongoing attempts to kill off the fundamentally necessary Postal Service in an election year, well that would be the sort of hilarious dick move of which Mr. Nutterbutter would undoubtedly approve.