Martha and I are fans of John Oliver and have missed seeing his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight,” during the writers/actors strike. Fortunately, we got tickets to see him do standup last week at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis and ended up even more impressed.
I don’t think “funny” covers it. Oliver is not only clever and highly amusing, he’s also quite a wordsmith. Every syllable out of his mouth was chosen precisely, then delivered perfectly and with great wit. He had the crowd eating out of his hand for nearly 100 minutes.
He is a history buff and, like watching his show, listening to him talk means learning a lot of information we should have been taught but never were. Like the time an American B-52 accidentally dropped nuclear bombs on North Carolina — and it wasn’t the first such incident. Or why America’s current political division is nowhere near the worst time in our history. Or the British Museum being full of ancient artifacts stolen from other countries. Or the British royal family’s ugly backstory.
Oliver also discussed his experiences as a parent of very young children and what it was like doing his HBO show from home during the pandemic while they were in the next room watching “Paw Patrol” on an iPad. Then he closed with a story regarding his lack of athletic ability as a kid that took a hilarious turn.
Born in Britain, Oliver happily became a US citizen a few years ago. In doing so, he leapt into the pantheon of great American humorists. I look forward to seeing him again, both on stage and on HBO.