Leave it to John Oliver to make talking about the weather interesting. Of course, he had help on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, whose main story found improbable hilarity in the dull-as-ditchwater topic of elevator chit-chatters everywhere, by masterfully uncovering how Donald Trump’s corruption has seeped all the way down into the government agency whose job it is to let people know if they and their loved ones should hurry down into the root cellar before they’re hurled into the sky by a tornado.
“Now wait a minute,” you might be saying, “Isn’t Oliver just reaching for another example of how—and I’m just spitballing here—Donald Trump is a sociopathic goon who destroys everything he touches with either ignorance, his own brand of mutant capitalist demon-greed, or a combination of both?” Fair question, to which the answer Oliver provides in his unexpectedly compelling main story is “Nope, Trump even sucks at weather.” That’s since, as Oliver shows, a suspiciously Trump-ian business model is poised to poison what should be the most innocuously helpful branch of the United States government, the National Weather Service, thanks to his nomination of one Barry Myers.
Never heard of Barry Myers? Well, you’ve certainly seen the snappy graphics of his private weather prediction company Accuweather, a company which, under Myers’ leadership, once unsuccessfully tried to ram through a bill to prevent the taxpayer-funded National Weather Service (which he’s been nominated to lead for two years running now) from sharing quite so much life-saving weather information from the public. You know, since his company, as an interview with Myers’ brother-partner Joel showed, their entire business is based on making people pay for such information. As when he says a concert promoter client essentially only saved Eddie Vedder’s life because they had Accuweather’s warning about a deadly lightning storm. And if you’re wondering if John Oliver took that opportunity to bust out a full-throated extended Eddie Vedder impression at that point, you’re wrong—he did it twice.
So now that Barry Myers has been in a (thankfully stalled) line to become undersecretary of the very agency he lobbied to stop doing its vital work so well, and so freely, Oliver donned a 1980s-style weatherman getup to predict just how such a blatant corruption of the NWS’ mission will go. Noting how Myers promised—like, pinky-swear promised—never to discuss the weather with his two brothers (who still run Accuweather despite Barry being poised to take over their direct, non-profit competition), not even over Thanksgiving dinner, Oliver did his own 45-days-’til-Thanksgiving forecast of “Bullshit!” Also explaining how the Myers and Trump clans’ similarities extend beyond farcically corrupt plutocratic nepotism to simply being sleazeballs, Oliver showed how Accuweather is also currently snowed under by a blizzard of sexual harassment claims that court documents show were habitually ignored by the company. So, as Oliver predicted when urging Congress to ditch Barry Myers from consideration for the NWS, the chances of Trump actually serving the public interest by “knowing stuff,” “doing stuff,” and “think[ing] workplace harassment is a bad thing” is exactly zero percent. Bundle up, folks. Don’t forget your bullshit waders.