14 July 2014 | rzajac
Verrry innaresting development in the progressive comedy news ecosphere
I think the most important way to describe the emergence of Last Week Tonight (LWT) is to characterize how it alters the progressive comedy news ecosystem.
Here's my take, in a nutshell: The Daily Show (TDS) and The Colbert Report (TCR) do what they do and do it fairly well... and yet, LWT shows that a niche remains, and it can be summed up in these two points: 1) LWT shows that it's possible to dispense with the pop culture marketing accretion disk that has come to sort of weigh down TDS. I'm referring to the fact that, a) tho he still can "bite", Jon has become noticeably saddled with too much "lite" content--occasional bits involving current events that really don't have much relevance to the concerns of progressive political folk, and b) the occasional kowtow to absolute dawg flicks of Hollywood "hot properties". Oliver shows that you can resolutely dispense with this and still be total laff riot! He has put the lie to the assumptions of the suits that inflict their marketing-think on TDS.
And, 2) Oliver has put a fresh and long-overdue "world news" spin on the structure of his show. In fact (am I hallucinating?), it appears that TDS has, of late, responded to Oliver's spin, and has been injecting a little more global perspective into his content... too little, too late?
Note that I haven't mentioned TCR; and that's because, relatively speaking, it inhabits a separate space from both TDS and LWT.
Anyway, the crux, from my perspective, is that it appears Oliver found that "grail"; a portal to another media political content space which is exciting, while amazingly failing to be redundant! A tall order, but he fills it!
Add to this the arguable assessment that, while his first few episodes seemed to be struggling to get airborne, it's safe to say he is now properly aloft. Congrats! As long as Oliver keeps running as fast as he can to stay in one place (a la Carroll; and apologies for the mixed metaphor), he should continue to deliver a quality product.