Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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.

Violence

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

Sex

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. 

Language

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

Consumerism

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 byMarkKozel April 9, 2016

Great info, but sometime inappropriate

I really like the review this show presents on current events. It is refreshing to see a difference look at what is being reported on other news outlets. I al... Continue reading
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
Teen, 15 years old Written byMPAA_Lover June 16, 2015

Hillarious, for older ages though.

Definitely inappropriate for ages 8- if your kid knows and can handle very inappropriate stuff then make sure they know the content. Mostly meant for 16-17+.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMelBrooksFan June 3, 2016

Mature kids only

I'm just going to say it now: this guy is awesome! I love how he takes important issues and makes them funny, but also inspires change. However, this show... 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

For kids who love comedy and current events

Our editors recommend

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