Friday, September 29, 2017

'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' examines corporate consolidation after winning four Emmy Awards


After writing about Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah winning their first Emmy Awards, I promised that I'd report on the Emmy Awards won by "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" today.  It's time to follow through.

"Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" won half of the eight Primetime Emmy Awards for which it was nominated, including repeating all three categories it won last year, Outstanding Talk Variety Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Variety Series.  It also won Outstanding Interactive Program, unseating “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and holding off SNL in the face of a near sweep.

Oliver went up to the stage twice last week, the first time to accept Outstanding Writing For a Variety Series.


That gave rise to a running joke about thanking Oprah Winfrey, which popped up in his second acceptance speech for winning Outstanding Variety Talk Show.

Emmys 2017 - John Oliver Wins His Second Emmy Award for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Check out John Oliver acceptance speech.
Oprah wasn't there any more, but he thanked the person in her seat anyway.

The episode after his four wins, Oliver and his crew kept up the outstanding work with Corporate Consolidation, in which he actually tries to tank the merger between HBO's parent company Time Warner and AT&T.

Big businesses are getting even bigger thanks to a rise in corporate mergers. John Oliver explains why that could make you want to physically destroy your cable box.
The ubiquitous tribute to small business reminds me of this exchange between Greer the Archdruid and me in Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment.
"Even the once-mighty profit class, the people who get their income from the profit they make on their own business activities, is small enough these days that it lacks a significant collective presence."

The odd thing is that the small business owner still plays an important political and cultural role, even if they don't actually have much political clout.  Lots of politicians craft the appeals for their policies as promoting "small business," even if they don't really do anything of the sort.  There's also the repeated fantasy of running a business, such as a restaurant or store, as a way of achieving independence.  The reality is that it's usually the interests of the investment class that get promoted when politicians talk about policies that are "good for business," not the profit class.  Also, running a small business is much more work than people realize.  In the current system, it's a lot more remunerative for less work to be a member of the salary class.
Thanks to John Oliver and his writers, researchers, and editors for pointing out how true my observation still is.

In addition to blowing up a cable box to point out the problems with monopolies, Oliver also took aim at the airlines.  Here is his most savage dig, which might earn yet another nomination for Picture Editing.


Mean, but true and funny.  Just for that, congratulations, John Oliver and the crew of "Last Week Tonight."  Keep up the good work of being the most entertaining informational program on television.

I have one more Emmy winner to examine, "Saturday Night Live," which tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program.  Stay tuned.

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