After taking a one-week hiatus due to the coronavirus, Last Week Tonight returned on Sunday, broadcasting from an empty studio. John Oliver joked that while other late-night hosts are working from home, he had returned to his “white void full of sad facts,” asking, “Where else did you think I lived?”
The topic at hand was once again the subject that’s already on everyone’s minds: the coronavirus. Specifically, Oliver examined how conservatives are reacting to the crisis, chastising politicians and pundits alike for valuing the economy over human lives, and examining how Trump’s claims of being a “wartime president” demonstrate exactly how ineffective his response has been. “It is so profoundly disheartening that we’re being led through this crisis by a man who may be less equipped to deal with this historical moment than anybody in recorded history,” he said.
Even by Last Week Tonight’s standards, this was a bleak episode, partly because of the lack of a studio audience and partly because this crisis is laying bare the vulnerabilities in America’s health care system, decentralized government, and mindset in which “market worship threatens to become a fucking death cult.” But on a hopeful note, at least the hand-washing TikTok hamster featured in last week’s episode is running for president.