John Oliver's 'Last Week Tonight' returns this weekend, and the first episode is expected to contain at least a few swipes at President Donald Trump. And one person -- other than The Donald -- isn't too happy about that: Oliver himself, who has mixed feelings about what many consider a heyday for comedy.
The main thing I tend to hear from people, in a well-meaning way, is, 'Oh, wow! Your show's set,' and, like, 'You're gonna be fine for the next four years,'" Oliver told Rolling Stone recently. "But whenever these...I was gonna say these kind of administrations, but this may be a different level. But just for comedy alone, it can be more difficult because there is so much low-hanging fruit. Especially with someone like him. The old W. Bush days were not halcyon days for comedy in lots of regards, unless people really fought to find some more substance in what was going on. If you're just making fun of personalities and sound bites, then you're just attacking the window dressing, and there's only shallow satisfaction in that.
Oliver added that he regrets one of his biggest Trump bits. Last February, Oliver launched the #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain campaign, calling on the billionaire to change his name back to Drumpf. The sketch was supposed to be little more than filler, but it became a pop culture sensation -- to Oliver's dismay.
"We did that the night of the Oscars, right? So that was not supposed to be that big of a deal, because of the Oscars. And not just the Oscars, the Chris Rock Oscars. Good Oscars, right? We were not doing that with the sense that it would become bigger than our show normally is. And, yeah, the prevalence of it, after the fact, became a bit dismaying. It kind of slightly ruins the memory. But the idea of the Drumpf thing, I think, is really funny outside of what it became – to try and separate the brand from the man."
Now Oliver compares the bit to a hit song that a band loathes playing again and again for fans. "That joke became old for us very quickly. There's a reason we didn't use it again. It really is the song I skip past. It's 'Creep'. It's a good song, Thom Yorke! It was a good song when he wrote it."
So you won't hear the word "Drumpf" when Season 4 of Last Week Tonight kicks off on Sunday, but you'll definitely get more of Oliver's incisive comedy. To whet your appetite for the premiere, check out the full interview with Rolling Stone.