Last Week Tonight? Try Last Five Months Tonight.
Sunday night saw John Oliver's much-anticipated return to late night TV, after a long hiatus due to the writers' strike. Naturally, he had some choice words prepared for the Hollywood studios that prolonged it. Following a segment where he recapped the events of the last five months — featuring everything from Lauren Boebert's scandalous Beetlejuice viewing to the simple hilarity of "Cop Slide" — the host got serious while addressing the reason he was off the air for so long.
"I'd have loved to have covered all these stories back when they originally happened. I wish so much I could have told you these jokes at the time," Oliver said. "But I couldn't because our writers, the people who wrote those jokes, were forced to strike for a fair contract for the last five months."
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO John Oliver on 'Last Week Tonight'
After 148 days of picket lines, the Writers Guild of America reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), putting an end to the second-longest strike in the union's history and finally allowing writers, like those at Last Week Tonight, to return to work.
Oliver added that while the deal was a huge win for the union, the strike itself made for an "immensely difficult time" for not just writers, but many industry members unable to do their jobs.
"And while I'm happy that they eventually got a fair deal and immensely proud of what our union accomplished, I'm also furious that it took the studios 148 days to achieve a deal that they could have offered on day f---ing one," Oliver continued. "Hopefully, this might encourage others — from auto workers to Starbucks baristas to healthcare providers — whether they are in unions or would like to be, to find power in each other."
Speaking to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, he added, "I really hope the actor's union and IATSE will be able to take what the writers achieved and leverage it to win fair contracts for themselves, too. Because the truth is, it takes many people working really hard to make film and TV, all of whom deserve a piece of the pie."
SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP are set to meet on Monday to resume strike negotiations in hopes of reaching a deal soon.
Oliver is one of the first late-night hosts to make his return since the strike ended. Jimmy Fallon (The Tonight Show), Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Seth Meyers (Late Night), and Stephen Colbert (The Late Show) announced last week that their respective series will return on Monday, Oct. 2.
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