As the 2016 presidential campaign staggers forward, John Oliver is essentially a jester on the sidelines in a cast until his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, returns from its hiatus on July 24. By that time, Oliver should have plenty to say about the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. But in the meantime, his recent absence from the airwaves hasn’t stopped him from making a few distinctly non-political endorsements in a new web-exclusive video.
While important, trustworthy celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Baldwin are publicly declaring their support for specific presidential candidates, Oliver is refraining from an endorsement of either Trump or Clinton. Why? “Because of my accent,” he politely explains, “the only elected officials I can endorse are prime ministers, viceroys, and magical railway controllers.” Cue the picture of Sir Topham Hatt, who apparently gets the Oliver seal of approval for his skill at managing the creepy, sentient trains of Sodor Island. And that’s just the beginning. There are a great many things the Last Week Tonight host will endorse, starting with “animals wearing people clothes.” As for people wearing animal clothes, however, that’s a different story. “Generally,” the comedian says, that’s “a specific sex thing.”
Also getting Oliver’s endorsement? Inter-species friendships and gingham shirts.The most surprising endorsement in the video might be the one for Pushing Tin, Mike Newell’s widely ignored, all but forgotten 1999 comedy-drama about air traffic controllers starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. For years, this movie was best known as a title that every video store in the country was guaranteed to have in stock. But Oliver has found a new use for the film. “If you are looking for a snooze in the middle of an overcast Sunday afternoon,” he says, “Pushing Tin will knock you the [bleep] out.”