Speed Reads


John Oliver and special guests offer sound advice on elder guardianship, Samantha Bee, and hippos

"Right now, over 49 million Americans are 65 and older," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, "and that number is expected to sharply increase in a demographic surge that some have called the 'Silver Tsunami' — which is also, apparently, the nickname Christopher Plummer goes by at his underground cage-fighting ring." Not all of us are going to remain sharp, he added, and "some of us are going to wind up needing extra care, and that could place us in a system called guardianship."

A guardian is a court-appointed overseer of people deemed incapable of taking care of their own affairs, "and when this system works, it's great. But it probably won't surprise you that that is not what this story is about. That's simply not what we do on I Just Wanted to Watch a Comedy Show and Go to Sleep But Now I'm Sad, with Johnny Joy-Killer." He explained "what can happen when guardianship goes wrong," and the details are pretty shocking. Oliver at one point made a Mercury joke, and slipped in Samantha Bee quip while yelling at Neil deGrasse Tyson for not appreciating his astronomy humor: "Just enjoy something for once in your f---ing life! What is wrong with you, you feckless — ah, never mind. It's not worth it, it's not worth it. Bad idea."

This is going to be an ever bigger problem in coming years, and while greater oversight and funding will be needed, Oliver said, "on the personal level, there are steps that everyone can take to avoid being taken advantage of in the future," like having "honest conversations with your family," even if that "sounds like a f---ing nightmare," as well as taking some "concrete legal steps." Since Oliver's relative youth might make him an untrustworthy messenger, he brought in some special guests to discuss guardianship tips — and, oddly, hippos and Tom Hanks. There is NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber