After taking most of a very busy July off, John Oliver returned with a vengeance on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. And although Oliver spent a few minutes fast-forwarding through the last few weeks’ of soul-poisoning Trump-itude (The Mooch, Steve Bannon’s suggested limberness, Trump toilet-tweeting a transgender military ban), the host spent most of July’s final installment going after Trump’s favorite blustering, conspiracy-minded hate-loon Alex Jones.
Is it in retaliation for Jones mocking Oliver for being wrong about America not being stupid enough to elect (sort of) Donald Trump president? Or Jones’ slam on Oliver’s British accent, which the perpetually red-faced Jones claims only makes Oliver sound all smart and sophisticated? (Oliver refutes this last point, admitting that, in reality, his particular British accent sounds “like a chimney sweep passing through a woodchipper.”) No, as the segment plays out, Oliver takes aim at Jones’ standard defense that all those vein-popping clips of him throwing papers, slamming his desk, and giving full-throated voice to fears about government water additives turning frogs gay are just cheap shots that take Jones’ bug-eyed booming out of their proper, completely not-insane (or perhaps just play-acted) context. So Oliver gives Jones’ hoarse babbling all the room it needs to, as Oliver posits, reveal that Jones’ feverish warnings of insidious New World Order plots are largely in service of his lucrative trade in dubious, overpriced merch. Like—just to pick a product at random from the panoply of Jones-hawked snake oil that Last Week Tonight actually spent some of HBO’s cash on—some very manly disposable cleaning cloths specifically recommended for cleaning your heroically-sweaty “perineal area.” Or, as Oliver puts it more succinctly, “sloppy wet-rags for your taint.”
Oliver’s point isn’t that Jones shamelessly shills for Infowars-branded bullshit (although an on-air taste-test proves that the “chocolate and domesticated bird corpses” so-called “Caveman” supplement is about as gross as you’d expect). Or even that Jones’ defense of his decidedly Kato Kaelin-looking “medical expert,” Dr. Edward Group, involves puffing up Group’s dubious qualifications (he graduated from chiropractic school) with a host of fake degrees. (A cursory check of Group’s claim to be “an M.I.T. alum” reveals that that’s simply bunk.) No, Oliver’s real scorn—apart from Jones’ ongoing, irresponsibly hurtful and soulless claims that the Sandy Hook school massacre was fake—is reserved for how Jones’ claims of uncompromised truth-telling mask what a former employee of Jones’ calls “QVC for conspiracy.” Thankfully, Oliver has another of his series of totally-real Last Week Tonight stunts to remedy the sputtering gouts of crap Jones regularly spews, as the host now has his own brand of “John Oliver Tactical Assault Wipes.” As a suspiciously Jack McBrayer-looking medical expert helpfully explains with the assist of a far too detailed diagram, the wipes—which you can actually buy for only one million dollars at infowipes.com—should be exactly as effective as any of the lucratively useless junk Alex Jones is peddling. (And, hey, according to the site, you get 10 per cent off your first order at the HBO shop, so that’s just a free hundred grand right there.)