Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Automation, Michael Cohen, & Jared Kushner


John Oliver
The March 3 edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had an opportunity to pick from a wide treasure trove of current events. Think in terms of Kim Jung-un, the Michael Cohen hearing, or the recent appearance by President Trump at CPAC.

So where did Oliver decide to bring the hilarity? Well, he seemed interested in taking on everything at the same exact time. He framed almost everything around a really terrible week for the President, including his Vietnam summit with the North Korean leader before then going into anything and everything when it comes to Michael Cohen. It’s obviously easy to dive into this, mostly because there were so many moments that are iconic in here in this modern news-cycle era.

What Oliver likes to do is travel off the beaten path, though, and give you a sense of some stories that you aren’t hearing about as much — take, for example, Jared Kushner getting a security clearance. He spent a little more time on Kushner, who had some headlines at the end of the week, than we expected. As the segment went along here, though, we got a good understanding why — Oliver spent a lot of time focusing on the million or so jobs that Kushner has, especially in comparison to his complexion. (Yes, we had a couple of minutes tonight focusing on Kushner’s “resting restingface,” a.k.a. how he doesn’t look he worse given everything that he is doing for the Trump administration.)

Is Kushner one of the hottest topics of conversation in the world? No, but that’s almost why Oliver likes him. He feels almost like it’s his job to be the guy playing the crane game who grabs Kushner, the stuffed animal nobody else wants to grab.

And now, this…

The short, local-news themed segment tonight was a funny montage in which a local-news reporter in Washington was compared to a beat poet. Random, but funny.

Main segment: Jobs

We want to take a moment and commend Oliver’s bit about all of the countries in the world and how Trump doesn’t know them — his purposeful mispronunciations of many countries was brilliant. (Also, the joke that Trump definitely knows Russia, even if he doesn’t know anything else.)

It’s true that the President spends a lot of time talking about how various countries out there are taking American jobs, but Oliver’s argument tonight was simple: It was actually automation that is the larger threat … but doesn’t necessarily mean that they are taking them either. It just shifts jobs around — think in terms of what happened with the creation of the ATM.

Most of the segment that Oliver brought to the table was funny, even if it did take a while to get to the point: Automation isn’t threatening if you are prepared for it. The problem is that you have to shift the workplace in some ways so that people can prepare for multiple careers throughout their lifetimes, and there also needs to be proper training. You can’t just sit around and expect your career to sit around forever; instead, you have to be fluid and expect the world to change. It was an effective message amidst some jokes about how Americans distrust robots and how a cute one was dismantled by angry people in Philadelphia.

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