Speed Reads


John Oliver steps on Dr. Oz to savagely trample the dietary supplement industry

Last week, the Senate grilled and shamed Dr. Mehmet Oz for hawking miracle pills on his popular syndicated TV talk show. On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver did the same, but much more amusingly. "Name me one case where a man named Oz claimed mystical powers and led people horribly astray," Oliver joked at one point.

The literary references didn't stop there. Oliver also drew on folk tales like "Jack and The Beanstalk" and "The Emperor's New Clothes" to demonstrate the problem with talking up unproved or even unsafe dietary supplements — and when Dr. Oz mentions them, sales climb skyward. "The only problem with the Dr. Oz effect is that magic pills don't, technically, exist, and Dr. Oz knows that," Oliver said.

Like the Senate used Dr. Oz as an example, so does Oliver — a jumping-off point to explain, in his John Oliver way, the problems with the lucrative supplement industry, and how it soundly defeated FDA regulatory attempts with the help of lots of money, angry letters, Mel Gibson, and Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). As always, some language is mildly NSFW, and the ending is brilliant. --Peter Weber