Ahead of Last Week Tonight’s return to HBO this weekend, Rolling Stone sat down with John Oliver for a lengthy interview about comedy’s role in the Trump era, balancing his TV job with his newer job as a parent, how he chooses topics for long Last Week Tonight segments, and more. Here’s Oliver on the idea that the press seemed “stunned” by Kellyanne Conway’s term “alternative facts” last month:
That’s absurd. There’s nothing to be stunned about. Trump and everyone around him have been consistent to a fault in their behavior. There’s this sense that, well, D.C. is the dominant gene, and anyone who goes there will have to kowtow to how things are done there. But you’re dealing with a human wrecking ball.
On whether Trump’s Twitter use is purposefully strategic to just “tantrums”:
Is Trump strategic, or is he sophisticated enough to know the power of the kind of linguistic hand grenade that he has become? Because even if he isn’t, it’s a classic magician’s misdirection trick, isn’t it? Is he sophisticated enough to understand the power to distract people from what you’re doing with ridiculous behavior? And the party he nominally belongs to is definitely sophisticated enough to know that. They could get a lot of shit done while people are gasping over the things that Trump has said. You could do hard legislation in the shadows, because if a magician comes onstage and releases a chimpanzee into the room who starts throwing feces at people, it’s going to be pretty easy for him to make a couple of moves and end up with a woman sawed in half [laughs]. They could get an incredible amount done while people are distracted by just the volume of nonsense.
On what Jon Stewart’s been up to lately:
You’ve gotta be able to do a year off. After you’ve worked at the pace he has, you just physically have to be able to do a year. I mean, he’s working on things. So he’s publicly quiet, but he’s not privately quiet. He’s using his brain and working on stuff right now.
Read the full interview over at Rolling Stone.