Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Funny, smart news-driven talk show with strong language.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Implied in the satirical take on the news is that people should care about the world around them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John Oliver is a British actor and political satirist; his points of view often reflect his international background. He's funny, but can also be intense and a bit crass.


Occasionally stories deal with violent events, like riots or animal attacks. 


Occasional nudity. Skits rarely include close-ups of male and female genitals and video excerpts from pornographic films. If sexual scandals are in the news, they're discussed. 


Curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are frequently used without any bleeping. 


Commercial brands like Kellogg's and various franchises are often the subjects discussed. Twitter and YouTube are also referenced. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Video footage of newscasts and other TV programs showing people drinking alcohol (hard liquor) and acting inappropriately. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Last Week with John Oliver is a news- and current event-driven talk show intended for older viewers. Discussions of topics ranging from politics and national security to social issues like racism are smart and humorous, but contain lots of cursing ("s--t," "f--k") and sarcastic insults. Occasionally stories touch on violent events, but nothing is really shown. Older teens who with an eye toward politics and current events will enjoy it, but it's not intended for tweens or young teens. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMaya16 May 20, 2017

Best Variety Show

This show is extremely funny and well-developed. The main thing that makes this show inappropriate for tweens and younger teens is the fact that he uses a lot o... Continue reading
Adult Written byGroovyMovie July 21, 2018

Serious topics delivered in a unique format

John Oliver delivers information on the worlds most pressing issues (some of which you will have never heard of). He uses comedy to emphasize his points and del... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byComplex May 9, 2021

LOVE this show

This is a great show. Absolutely hilarious, and gives some good news too. It’s very well written, and obviously super thought out. 10/10.
Kid, 12 years old January 30, 2021

I’ll correct this when I get a driver’s permit

This show would be good if not for the experiences I’ve had with it. It certainly is very mature already, but because of an incident I had with a Jigglypuff in... Continue reading

What's the story?

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER is weekly talk show that highlights the major themes appearing in American news over the past week. Hosted by British political satirist and actor John Oliver, known best in the United States for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the show explores issues ranging from American current events to international events that the United States media is all but ignoring. Accompanying his unique brand of commentaries is footage from various news outlets, interviews, musical interludes, and other humorous sketches.

Is it any good?

From discussing the top stories being highlighted in U.S. mainstream media, to talking about the problems with things like food labeling, intelligence gathering, and professional cheerleading, John Oliver offers a comic but smart perspective on North American political, economic, and social issues. He also highlights issues abroad that he believes the United States should be paying attention to, many of which he argues will have an impact on the country. 

The show is funny, but what makes it interesting is Oliver's unique ability to use humor and parody to offer intelligent explanations, commentaries, and of course, criticisms of the way the United States articulates what is important and relevant in today's society. The variety of quick sketches, including quick musical interludes by singers like Lisa Loeb, and interviews with folks like former NSA director General Keith Alexander, also underscore important points while making you chuckle. If you like this kind political satire and social commentary, watching this won't leave you disappointed. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about satire. Why do people use humor or exaggerations to discuss important issues, like politics? Is it just to be funny, or is it something more?

  • Why do talk show hosts, comedians, and others TV personalities curse during their conversations and routines to be humorous? What is the purpose of it? Can people be funny without using strong language? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 27, 2014
  • Cast: John Oliver
  • Network: HBO
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Award: Emmy
  • Last updated: May 9, 2021

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy and current events

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