Updated with video: Last Week Tonight host John Oliver did not join fellow late-night comedian/show hosts by opening his first show following the latest school shooting with a few words about the tragedy. Late-night shows’ brief serious/sad openers have become part of that post-school-shooting routine President Obama talked about so angrily, hours after nine people were murdered at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, in his latest post-shooting news conference.
Instead, Oliver devoted most of last night’s episode to the topic used by so many GOP presidential candidates in the wake of last week’s shooting to deflect talk away from gun control: mental health. And, for all his talk when he was Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show guests about how he “couldn’t give less of a shit” about GOP frontrunner Donald Trump or the 2016 election at this point, Oliver tied last night’s show directly to that race, playing clips of candidates pinning blame on the country’s inadequate mental health care.
“Perhaps the clearest sign of how little we want to talk about mental health is that one of the only times it’s brought up is, as we’ve seen yet again this week, in the aftermath of a mass shooting, as a means of steering the conversation away from gun control,” Oliver said, snarking, “It seems there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest mental health.”
These politicians claim to be “pretty motivated to address this problem,” Oliver snarked. “OK, fine—do it then,” he demanded. “Because, if we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control, then the very least we owe them is a f*cking plan.”