THE GUARDIAN 2/24/18
How did a foul-mouthed Brit with ‘a fifth-grade understanding of American politics’ become a hit US TV comedian? John Oliver talks about the secret to satire – and that clash with Dustin Hoffman
here is a huge billboard of John Oliver in the middle of Times Square, announcing the fifth season of his show Last Week Tonight and causing the comedian to take an alternative route to work. Since he arrived in the US nearly 11 years ago, part of Oliver’s schtick has been the British person not just at sea in another country, but somewhat at sea in his own skin, a comic trope that aligns with the 40-year-old’s fundamental discomfort with the trappings of fame.
“It’s all happened so quickly,” says Oliver [ . . . ] More: John Oliver: ‘I’m used to audiences not liking me’
“I think one of the problems in America is that it has this gigantic military that a large amount of the population has no connection to. You can functionally be at war, as they’ve been in Afghanistan, for over a decade, and not really have any emotional sense that that is happening, because the disconnect is so big.”