Brow Beat

John Oliver Is Feuding With a Giant Otter Who Wears a Turtle as a Hat

John Oliver, sitting at an anchor desk.
Never bet against the otter. HBO

There are two versions of Last Week Tonight. First, there’s the Last Week Tonight that exists online, where the conversation is driven by the segments released on YouTube. These are almost always the show’s trademark longform muckraking pieces on a single issue of public concern, from corporate tax rates to the NRA’s television network. Then there’s the much stranger version of Last Week Tonight that airs on HBO, where the longform segments are preceded by shorter, weirder bits, like the legendary montages of C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully being patient with people who call into his show.

Last week, Oliver’s main story was about the Mueller Report, an informative and funny 15-minute rundown of the latest developments in what Oliver calls “Stupid Watergate.” But there’s no Last Week Tonight this week, presumably because HBO needs the time to kill off as many Game of Thrones characters as possible, so the network posted a segment from last week’s episode on YouTube instead. It’s a rare chance for non-HBO subscribers to get a glimpse of bizarro-Last-Week-Tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Chiitan:

Chiitan’s antics are not a matter of public concern outside of Susaki, Japan, but they’re a matter of public delight all over the world. Although Oliver showed a few examples of Chiitan in action, he neglected to mention Chiitan’s greatest discovery: The satisfying sound a stack of what look to be empty olive oil cans make as they crash to the floor. For instance:

Or for another instance:

Or this advanced version, with metal pipes:

Now that’s the sound of great rogue mascotting. And on top of his important research into unsanctioned-mascot foley effects, Chiitan also is something of a public relations expert, because he has now become the first person or giant Japanese otter wearing a turtle as a hat in history to respond to a Last Week Tonight segment without making the situation worse. The secret is challenging John Oliver to a wrestling match:

When coal baron Robert Murray objected to an Oliver segment in which a giant squirrel named “Mr. Nutterbutter” told him to eat shit, the end result that Oliver brought Mr. Nutterbutter back on the show to do it again. Chiitan, on the other hand, proposed that Oliver participate in a stunt, the one thing Oliver can’t resist:

Chiitan’s cryptic reply to Oliver’s tweet—a context-free video of himself flying around in a wind tunnel—is the kind of thing we should all demand more of in our celebrity feuds.

Meanwhile, over in officially sanctioned mascot land, Chiijohn and Shinjo-kun are mostly just stealing each other’s noodles, which is fun, but not exactly wind-tunnel fun.

Will we be lucky enough to see Chiitan throw John Oliver through a wall of empty olive oil cans on a future episode of Last Week Tonight? Maybe—just don’t count on it making the show’s YouTube page.