Speed Reads


John Oliver takes his favorite thing about Mike Pence and bends it to support gay rights

On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver spent 20 minutes talking about Vice President Mike Pence, the one White House official President Trump can't fire. Pence's constitutional immunity from being sacked is actually worrisome, "because he's synonymous with some extreme positions," especially on abortion and gay rights, Oliver said. "If there are any Mike Pence supporters watching this, I cannot promise that he is going to come out of tonight's show looking great, but I can promise that I will say something nice about him before this piece is over."

"Pence's reputation is as the old, boring, principled contrast to Donald Trump," but he's actually morally pretty wily and "exceptionally good at dodging tough questions," Oliver said. And if you think his impeccable social conservatism — say, his recent opposition to women in the military — is because he grew up in the 1950s, nope, "he's 58 years old," Oliver said. "Pence is three months younger than Flavor f---ing Flav." He is most well-known for his opposition to gay rights, though, and Oliver spent the rest of the time on that topic.

Pence "clearly" believes in LGBTQ discrimination, "and yet, interestingly, one specific allegation he's pushed back on concerns whether or not he supported 'gay conversion' therapy," Oliver said. He found Pence's denial dubious, not least because of Pence's frequent praise for James Dobson, a big promoter of such "therapy" and, apparently, a big producer of gay-sounding double entendres. "Saying you don't support conversion therapy and then calling Dobson your 'mentor' is like saying you're a 'staunch vegetarian and a law-abiding citizen, and by the way, please meet my lifelong friend and mentor the Hamburglar,'" he quipped.

That led Oliver to the one thing he likes about Pence, and since Pence seems set on ruining even that, Last Week Tonight wrote a book. You can watch an excerpt at the end, but be warned: There is NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber