When HBO announced that John Oliver would host his own prime-time weekly TV news show, there was little reason to believe it would differ much from the political satire pioneered by John Stewart and Stephen Colbert in the early 2000s. Spiced with a British accent, Oliver's program was expected to combine sanguine satire with a mildly liberal bent.
But unlike Stewart and Colbert, Oliver has chosen to do something unusual with his program: call viewers to take action. Often the ask is only implicit, evident in the tone of his authentic outrage in monologues on the death penalty, drones, or wealth inequality. But Oliver has also experimented wit...
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