Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

10 Best Episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a popular half-hour satirical show broadcasted on HBO since 2014. It takes a humorous look at the week's news, politics and current events. After 11 seasons, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has amassed countless episodes, leaving viewers wondering which ones are the best. We've compiled a list of the top-ranked episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, according to viewers. From the Emmy-winning monologue on the greed of pharmaceutical companies to the hilarious segment on the FCC's net neutrality repeal, these are the best episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver rated by viewers.

Written by Sophie and last updated on jun 24, 2024.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S4E1

#15 - Trump vs. Truth (Season 4 - Episode 1)

John Oliver is back with a new episode of Last Week Tonight and this time he's taking on the Trump vs. Truth battle. As always, Oliver takes a thoughtful approach to the topic by exploring where the president gets his information and what he does with it. Oliver maintains that bashing Trump is easy, but what he did with fervor and intelligence was to delve into how Trump does not think. His approach has viewers cheering him on, as it's a much needed voice of reason in these trying times.

The episode was rated 8.39 from 1642 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E6

#14 - FIFA and the World Cup (Season 1 - Episode 6)


John Oliver opened Last Week Tonight with John Oliver talking about California Chrome and the Belmont Stakes. He discussed the excitement of the horse racing world and the triumph of California Chrome. He then moved on to talk about FIFA and the 2014 World Cup. He criticized FIFA's lack of transparency and its questionable use of funds. He also questioned the morality of awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar given its oppressive labor laws. Oliver went on to discuss Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the terrible humanitarian crisis in Syria. He highlighted the ongoing struggle for democracy in the country and the role of Russia and Iran in supporting the regime. He concluded by urging the world to take a stand against Assad and the atrocities being perpetrated in Syria.

The episode was rated 8.39 from 406 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S2E25

#13 - Church (Season 2 - Episode 25)

In this episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the focus is on predatory churches and televangelists, and how the U.S. tax law allows them to get away with almost anything. Oliver discusses how these institutions are taking advantage of people's faith for abhorrent monetary gain, and he even goes as far as founding a "church" as an exercise in exposing how ridiculous this whole scheme is.

However, as one of the comments notes, this episode lacked the usual laughs, learning, and path to improvement that Oliver is known for. Though it is difficult to come up with a concrete step to be taken to try to improve the situation due to the First Amendment, this episode could have had a more constructive approach. Nonetheless, it is still a good reminder of how important it is to be aware of the underhanded tactics of some institutions.

The episode was rated 8.39 from 594 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E7

#12 - Immigration Reform (Season 1 - Episode 7)


In the episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John dives into the complex issue of US Immigration reform. He talks about the current policies, laws, and regulations, and how they are impacting the lives of immigrants in the country. He interviews Professor Stephen Hawking, an expert on immigration issues, to get his insight on the situation. Professor Hawking shares his views on how the current system is failing immigrants, and offers potential solutions to the problems. He also talks about how the United States needs to take a more compassionate approach to the situation.

John then goes on to explain the different ways in which people can immigrate to the US, and how the process is often too complicated for many immigrants. He also points out the many challenges that immigrants face when trying to navigate the system. He then talks about the need for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that would make it easier for immigrants to enter the country and become contributing members of society. Overall, John Oliver provides an in-depth look into the complex issue of US Immigration and the need for reform.

The episode was rated 8.39 from 385 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S2E17

#11 - Torture (Season 2 - Episode 17)

On the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the show examined the US Senate Torture Report that revealed details of America's interrogation program. To help explain the report, the show featured a segment with Helen Mirren. In addition to that, the episode also covered the 2015 European Games and the Canadian Senate expenses scandal.

As usual, John Oliver delivered with his signature wit and humor. Each week, viewers are delighted by the show's ability to tackle serious topics in an entertaining way. With the ongoing coverage of current events, it seems that Last Week Tonight has found a formula for success.

The episode was rated 8.40 from 477 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E17

#10 - Scottish Independence Referendum (Season 1 - Episode 17)


John Oliver does an in depth analysis of the Scottish Independence Referendum in the episode of Last Week Tonight. He talks about the implications of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and how it could affect the United Kingdom as a whole. He also highlights the importance of the issue and how it could have lasting implications on the UK and the world.

John also talks about the NFL's decision on Ray Rice's contract, the international response to ISIS, and Twitter hashtags that are being misused by corporations. He explains the various aspects of each issue and how it affects the people involved. He also expresses his opinion on why the NFL should have been harsher on Rice, why we should take the fight against ISIS seriously, and why corporations should not be allowed to hijack twitter hashtags.

The episode was rated 8.41 from 375 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S3E3

#9 - Donald Trump (Season 3 - Episode 3)

John Oliver kicked off this week's episode of Last Week Tonight with a discussion of Egypt's president and the economic crisis that has been plaguing the country. He then moved on to the topic of Guantanamo Bay, and the effort to shut it down. Finally, John Oliver brought viewers to the topic of Donald Trump. He discussed the reasons why people may be drawn to him and the dangers of a Trump presidency. The audience was left with a call to arms to #makedonalddrumpfagain, with a hilarious Chrome extension to make the process even easier. This episode should be mandatory viewing for anyone considering voting for Trump, as Oliver does an excellent job of showing why people likely support him and the issues at stake in a potential Trump presidency.

The episode was rated 8.42 from 754 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E20

#8 - Civil Forfeiture (Season 1 - Episode 20)


The main story of the episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is the process of civil asset forfeiture, which is a way for law enforcement to make money out of citizens by seizing assets they believe to be associated with a crime. John Oliver discusses how this process is unfair and is often abused by the police, making it an issue of justice and morality. He also points out that it would make for a very strange episode of the television show Law and Order.

In addition to discussing civil asset forfeiture, John Oliver also talks about his desire to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and why Columbus Day is still a thing. He jokes about the idea of hosting the Olympics, and points out the irony of celebrating a man who did not discover America. He also brings attention to the lack of a proper holiday for Indigenous Peoples, and argues for the abolishment of Columbus Day as a national holiday.

The episode was rated 8.44 from 378 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E21

#7 - Military Translators (Season 1 - Episode 21)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently discussed the plight of military translators who have aided the U.S. Military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite their service, these translators are in great danger in their home countries due to ongoing conflict and war. Unfortunately, many of them are unable to escape due to bureaucratic red tape that is keeping them trapped. The episode featured FNU Mohammad, an Afghani translator who managed to make it out.

The episode also addressed the issue of Supreme Court coverage, as cameras are not allowed in court discussions. This often leads to lacklustre coverage of important cases. John Oliver fixed this problem with a creative solution involving real animals and fake paws. The segment provided a humorous but meaningful insight into the current state of Supreme Court coverage.

The episode was rated 8.44 from 387 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S6E29

#6 - SLAPP Suits (Season 6 - Episode 29)


In the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episode, SLAPP Suits, John Oliver takes a humorous approach to a serious issue. After a humorous legal battle involving a coal executive and a giant squirrel, Oliver dives into the issue of SLAPP suits; a type of lawsuit used to discourage and silence public criticism. Through his comedic approach, Oliver explains how SLAPP suits are used to stifle dissent and how citizens can fight back. The episode culminates with a stirring conclusion that encapsulates the message of the show: the power of the people to fight against corporate overreach. Fans of the show were thrilled with the perfect ending, praising the show for its accuracy and humor. It's no wonder why Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is so beloved by its audience.

The episode was rated 8.44 from 629 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E24

#5 - The Lottery (Season 1 - Episode 24)

John Oliver takes a deep dive into the lottery industry in this episode of Last Week Tonight. He uncovers that state lotteries don't actually provide the benefits they promise. Despite the claims of being a great source of income for schools and other public services, Oliver reveals that the money generated is often misused and not used as promised.

As an example, Oliver points to a case in which a state lottery was used to fund a stadium instead of schools. He also highlights that lotteries disproportionately target people with lower incomes, claiming that they are more likely to be taken advantage of by the industry.

In addition to this, Oliver also shows a fun side to the episode with a segment on a fascinating cannon that shoots salmon over dams. This captivating and hilarious moment highlights Oliver's comedic wit, which makes the episode an overall enjoyable experience.

The episode was rated 8.47 from 384 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E18

#4 - United States Embargo Against Cuba, Miss America 2015 (Season 1 - Episode 18)


John Oliver starts off Last Week Tonight by covering the results of the Scottish referendum that took place the week before. He discusses how the outcome of the referendum will have a global effect and how it could potentially create a domino effect in other countries. He then moves on to the main story which focuses on the Miss America pageant and their scholarships to women. John explains how outdated and absurd the requirements for the contestants are. To illustrate this, he enlists the help of guest star Kathy Griffin to stage his own pageant. He continues to critique the archaic gender stereotypes of the pageant and calls for an end to the archaic and outdated gender roles that have been so long enforced. He also points out the hypocrisy of the United States having an embargo against Cuba while the Miss America pageant is happy to accept contestants from the country. In conclusion, he calls for more progressive ideals in the pageant and for the United States to reconsider its embargo against Cuba.

The episode was rated 8.49 from 370 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S2E2

#3 - Tobacco (Season 2 - Episode 2)

On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver discussed the tobacco industry and how it is still thriving despite regulations and marketing restrictions in the U.S. He explained how tobacco companies are still earning profits through doing business overseas, specifically citing Phillip Morris International's use of unethical legal practices while suing some of the world's poorest countries. Moreover, Oliver wondered why the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue still exists when it is no longer a popular form of marketing.

The segment highlighted the damaging effects of the tobacco industry, and how it continues to harm people in some of the world's most disadvantaged countries. Through his comedic approach, John Oliver was able to draw attention to this issue and the need to increase awareness of the unethical practices employed by the tobacco industry. He was also able to emphasize the importance of regulations and marketing restrictions in the U.S. to reduce the prevalence of smoking.

The episode was rated 8.51 from 357 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E5

#2 - Net Neutrality (Season 1 - Episode 5)


In the episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John dives into the hot-button topic of Net Neutrality. He starts by talking about the rise of far-right political parties in Europe and the Ukrainian election. He then moves on to the important topic of Net Neutrality, discussing the effects of this issue on the internet, from slowing down loading times to blocking certain websites. He also touches on Australia's hard-line Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his stance on the issue. Finally, John wraps up the episode by discussing the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee and its winners.

Net Neutrality is an issue that affects everyone who uses the internet, and John Oliver does an excellent job of explaining the complexities of the issue. He makes sure to take a look at it from multiple angles, from the political implications of it to the effects it has on people's everyday lives. John also takes the time to discuss the winners of the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee, adding a light-hearted element to the episode. By the end of the episode, viewers are left with a better understanding of the issue of Net Neutrality and how it affects people in different ways.

The episode was rated 8.52 from 355 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S2E8

#1 - Government Surveillance (Season 2 - Episode 8)

On the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the show focused on the issue of government surveillance. John Oliver sat down with Edward Snowden to discuss the National Security Agency (NSA) and the balance between privacy and security. While the show often provides a humorous take on current events, this episode was no exception. The show discussed the importance of government checks on surveillance programs and how the lack of these checks can be concerning.

Unfortunately, the show took a misstep when they asked Edward Snowden about his views on dick pics. Snowden seemed taken aback by the question and it fell flat, as it was neither educational nor entertaining. It was clear that he was not prepared for this type of humor and the segment should have gone in a different direction. Despite this misstep, Last Week Tonight provided an insightful and humorous look into the issues surrounding government surveillance.

The episode was rated 8.69 from 573 votes.

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