Lee Camp > John Oliver
I’m still watching John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, but I feel he’s slipping. He’s retreating to the safety of slagging on Trump almost exclusively which is both not very funny and not very helpful. Oliver is fading into the same vanilla and safe faux-leftism that characterized his ideological predecessors Jon Stewart and, to a lesser degree, Stephen Colbert.
Both Stewart and Colbert loved the military. By the end of their respective runs, their opposition to military adventures was not no longer a priori. This mirrored Obama’s position about dumb wars. Colbert is now on network TV and his monologues are kind of painful—already much more pandering and plain than Oliver’s are quickly becoming.
It’s not just Trump, John
Trump is not the singular problem facing the nation. He’s not making things any better, but he’s not uniquely evil. In a way, his footsteps so far are so loud and clear that there is no way you can ignore him. It makes it pretty easy to track him and oppose him.
This is different from Obama who said very different things than he did. The U.S. did not change for the better in any significant way under Obama, but there are those who love him as the 21st-century FDR. He’s more of a 21st-century JFK—who was also a very overrated president when it came to actual policy.
Taking potshots at Trump gets old because he’s such an easy target. Trump doesn’t think before he acts or speaks. Yeah, tell me something I don’t know. It’s not that funny. Oliver: You’re making it too easy for yourself, getting laughs from the easy-to-please.
Camp dissects a Starbucks Ad
Lee Camp, on the other hand, stays laser-like focused on issues of import, week after week. His writing is excellent and his presentation is deeply funny. He doesn’t take sides with any party: he teaches us about the system.
For example, episode 137 of Redacted Tonight starts off with a fantastic monologue analyzing the cloying corporatist propaganda of the latest Starbucks commercial. It’s the very first segment, called The Global Mind Control People Don’t Talk About.
Camp begins with:
“Now, if you’re a fan of this show, you already know the mainstream media fucking suuuucks. We can all agree on that. And, right now, they’re freaking out because Trump is calling them fake news. And, Trump is both correct and he spends more of his day lying. That’s most of his day. So it basically amounts to a liar calling other liars out on their lying […]
“Anyway, what I wanna say is there’s another kind of fake news, another kind of mind control, that we all see all day long and it’s basically never questioned, never analyzed, never really picked apart. I’m talking about commercials. Advertisement. Corporate bullshit that is forced down our eyeholes at a tremendous pace.
“[…] Those ads craft our culture, they craft our belief system.”
Camp takes a swipe at Trump but then moves on to more appropriate, insidious targets. He spends his time informing us about the system that controls us, regardless of who’s in power. I cut a bunch of the really good jokes out above in order to focus on the content. It’s funnier in real life. The whole show is good, but if you’re impatient, watch the first 12 minutes to see for yourself.