You may recall that two years ago, the show did a long, terrific story about the litigious Bob Murray who owns a problematic coal mining company in West Virginia. (If you missed it, you can see the full video here.) Murray sued the show, and eventually it got dismissed in court. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Murray's coal mining company declared bankruptcy. So, there's been a curiosity what John Oliver and his program would say about it. Well, tonight you find out...!
Following this, the show's main story is about SLAPP lawsuits, the kind of suit where the intent is not to win, but to harass someone and keep a subject matter from being discussed in public. (SLAPP stands for "Strategic lawsuit against public participation.) They are illegal in most states, but not all. Not only is the story terrific and extremely funny, but they weave the two stories together.
All that is so good good that it's Must Watch all on it's own. But that's not why this is a Must Watch.
As you may know, if you're a regular viewer of the show, every once in a while after doing reporting on a particularly egregious topic, Last Week Tonight occasionally throws in a very funny twist at the end -- like after they did a report about debt collecting companies who buy up debt agencies' debts for penalties on the dollar, the show announced that for just $60,000 they bought up $15 million of debt from 9,000 people from a debt agency -- and transferred to a non-profit company to forgive it all. (You can see that here. It starts around the 17-minute mark.) The point of all this is that you should stick around to the very end because they have another of their fun twists. And without an ounce of hyperbole, it is not only their greatest twist ending, but it is the Mount Olympus of twist endings.
If you don't have 26 minutes to spare -- fight that off and find the time. It flies by. But if you just can't, then jump to the 20-minute mark to give yourself a bit of a lead-in. One caveat: there are some things in it that are not G-rated, nor for those with tender ears.
(By the way, the actor who pops in to briefly interrupt as HBO's lawyer is Broadway star Brian D'Arrcy James who created the role of King George III in the original off-Broadway production of Hamilton and starred as Shrek in the Broadway musical production. Yes, that is meaningless information, but it's the kind I like to add for context, especially because he went to the beloved Northwestern.).
That aside, you can forget all the folderol and just watch the full 26-minute tour-de-force. Much as I don't like to oversell anything -- I'm not. Trust me.