Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

10 Best Episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Season 1

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 - S1E3

#15 - Climate Change Denial (Season 1 - Episode 3)

John talks about Eurovision, Ukraine and Russia's relations and interviews Bill Nye about Climate Change.

The episode was rated 8.23 from 456 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E10

#14 - Income and Wealth Inequality (Season 1 - Episode 10)


John talks about modern American income inequality, Warren G. Harding's love letters and President Obama's "Day In The Life" tour.

The episode was rated 8.25 from 357 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E11

#13 - Incarceration in the United States (Season 1 - Episode 11)

John talks about the Gaza crisis, the decay of American prisons and the gambling addiction problem in Singapore.

The episode was rated 8.26 from 367 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E12

#12 - Nuclear Weapons and the United States (Season 1 - Episode 12)


John talks about human rights violations in the Middle East, nuclear disarmament and Russia's science satellite that lost communication.

The episode was rated 8.31 from 330 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E8

#11 - Dr. Oz (Season 1 - Episode 8)

John Oliver opened this episode of Last Week Tonight talking about Iraq and the Iraq War. He highlighted the current state of the country, the lack of resources and the political instability. He also discussed the controversial issue of Antarctica tourism and the potential environmental damage it could cause.

John then moved on to his main topic of the night: Dr. Oz. He criticized the doctor for promoting what he called a "miracle drug" and for not providing scientific evidence for his claims. Oliver argued that people should not be relying on Dr. Oz for medical advice, and that it is important to consult with a medical professional when making medical decisions.

The episode was rated 8.34 from 385 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E15

#10 - Shooting of Michael Brown and Police Militarization (Season 1 - Episode 15)


John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight recently focused on the shooting of Michael Brown and police militarization in Ferguson, Missouri. John discussed the events that led up to the shooting, emphasizing the disproportionate power of law enforcement and the militarization of police forces. He also discussed the unequal pay that minority workers receive for equal work. John highlighted the fact that African Americans are paid on average 25% less than their white counterparts, and that this gap had only grown over time.

John then took a deep dive into the events of the shooting in Ferguson and the subsequent protests, pointing out that the militarization of police forces around the country has made it easier for them to respond to protests with excessive force. He also pointed out that this militarization has caused some citizens to feel as if they are living in a police state. John then discussed the need for transparency in law enforcement and the need for police to be held accountable for their actions. He concluded the episode by emphasizing that a change in policy is needed in order for citizens to feel that their rights are being respected.

The episode was rated 8.36 from 350 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E16

#9 - Student Debt (Season 1 - Episode 16)

John Oliver devoted his show Last Week Tonight to the topic of student loan debt. He discussed the issue in depth, touching on the crippling debt load that many college students face after graduating. He also addressed the fact that ISIS is still a major challenge facing the world, and how it affects our lives every day.

A Great Big World, the musical group, made a special appearance during the episode in a skit that highlighted the issue of student debt. They were dressed in space Gecko suits, which made for a humorous and eye-catching performance. The show ended with a call for action for the government to step in and help alleviate the student loan debt burden. It was an entertaining and informative episode that raised awareness about an important issue.

The episode was rated 8.36 from 361 votes.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - S1E6

#8 - 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 - S1E7

#7 - 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 - S1E17

#6 - 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 - S1E20

#5 - 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

#4 - 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 - S1E24

#3 - 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

#2 - 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 - S1E5

#1 - 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.

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