Despite the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, speaking unvarnished truth about the shadowy corporate-funded shell game known as American democracy is simply not permitted on corporate-controlled broadcast media, unless your name is Jon Stewart — and even he avoids certain third rails that jump-start the dark heart of the corporate/military/police/prison industrial complex like a pacemaker of doom. There is just one other comedian/commenter who is allowed to speak truth to America’s face, John Oliver — and that’s only because he’s British, which protects him from Fox News-derived allegations of heresy in much the same way the court jester’s crown and pointy shoes protected him from the guillotine, a fate that awaited nearly everyone who had the temerity to speak truth to power in the king’s presence. Which is what makes John Oliver so dangerous to the power’s that be, he makes us swallow the unvarnished truth whole and do it with a smile, and perhaps a guffaw or, on a good night, a deep belly laugh. As per NPR’s Fresh Air :
After serving as a correspondent on The Daily Show for 7 1/2 years — and hosting it last summer while Jon Stewart took a break to direct his movie — British comedian John Oliver now has his own show. Last Week Tonight, a political satire, airs on HBO on Sunday nights. Much like Stewart, Oliver takes complicated issues, explains them and makes fun of them. Recently, Oliver tackled Net Neutrality, or the idea that the Internet should be a level playing field with all data treated equally, whether it’s coming from a big corporation or a startup. The Federal Communications Commission is endorsing rules that would end net neutrality and create a data “fast lane” for companies willing to pay a premium. The issue is sometimes discussed in hard-to-follow technical and bureaucratic language, which is where Oliver comes in. “Internet neutrality is the most important thing that is honestly too boring to care about, and yet it is a pivotal moment in a very, very key issue,” Oliver tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “It took a week of sifting through almost paralyzingly dull footage to try and work out how to present it.” But present it he did in a 13-minute rant, and at the end of the show, Oliver encouraged viewers to comment on the FCC website to change the rule. The FCC site received so much traffic, the agency had to send out a few tweets saying it faced “technical difficulties” on its servers. As a comedian, Oliver says, his job is to remain an outsider. “There should be a kind of awkward tension whenever a journalist walks into a room that politicians are in, because you should’ve done things that annoyed them in the past,” he says. “It’s the same as a comedian. You’re no one’s friend.” He also talks about tasing his leg for comedic effect, working a temp job for a thief and how HBO gives him a “confusing amount of freedom.”
Oliver comes to town Friday for two shows at the Tower Theater and we just happen to have a coupla pairs of tix for the 10:30 show to give away to some lucky Phawker readers. To qualify to win you must A) join our emailing list B) follow us on Twitter C) Friend us/me on Facebook. And then email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM to let us know you have just completed A, B & C, or did so long ago. Put the magic words THE LIMEY MAKES ME LAUGH in the subject line. Include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!