John Oliver brought his A-game to The Daily Show on Monday night. This is Oliver's last week in the anchor's chair, and he seems determined to end on a high note. He started out Monday's show once more complaining that America's political chatterers have already started the 2016 presidential campaign.
To be fair, potential 2016 presidential contenders have already started the 2016 campaign, too. But some pundits, Oliver said, have not only started their 2016 coverage, three years before the election — they're starting to wrap it up. He's looking at you, Chris Matthews. MSNBC's Matthews raised Oliver's ire by confidently predicting that Republicans will pick Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) — Oliver's guest, not coincidentally — as their next presidential standard-bearer. Oliver contrasted this pick with Matthews' early predictions for 2008 and 2012. President Giuliani, anyone?
But the Matthews-bashing was just prelude to the best part of the show, Oliver's love letter to Australia's electoral system — "DOWN-UNDERcision 2013." Not only is every Australian required to vote by law, he said, but the entire election campaign lasts only one month. "You might think: Hold on John," Oliver said, "If our elections were just four weeks, we wouldn't get all the fun of watching the human gaffe-alanches on the campaign trail." Wrong.
The beauty of Australia's four-week campaign is that it's just like America's, only 35 months shorter. In one short month, the Australians will experience all the joy Americans get watching major candidates stumble through clumsy pratfalls and commit top-quality verbal gaffes, while wasting much less time. To prove his point, Oliver found an Australian Rick Perry, Anthony Weiner, and even a "turbo" Sarah Palin named Stephanie Bannister.
Before getting to his Rand Paul interview, Oliver spent a few minutes talking about Dr. Sanjay Gupta's embrace of medical marijuana:
Bonus: On Friday, Oliver was on the other side of the anchor's desk, talking about his summer as Daily Show host with NBC's Jimmy Fallon. They talked shark week, roller skating with Prince, and the immigration issues with mermaids:
Oliver's Fallon appearance didn't start out flawlessly, though. Earlier in the show, Fallon had showed off his new studio for the next six months, while NBC converts his current studio for his takeover of The Tonight Show in February. The new studio is an exact replica of the old studio. Guess where Oliver was when Fallon called his name?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Attack of the invasive species
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- How Captain America won over China
- Which states get screwed worst by the Electoral College?
Subscribe to the Week