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HBO’s John Oliver Addresses the Orlando Massacre: ‘This Just Hurts”

John Oliver on HBO's "Last Week Tonight."John Oliver on HBO's "Last Week Tonight."
John Oliver on HBO's "Last Week Tonight."Courtesy of HBO

“It’s still early and details are still emerging and right now this just hurts,” John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, said.

Because his show aired Sunday night, Oliver was the first late-night host to address the Orlando mass shooting on his show, and he delivered uncharacteristically somber opening remarks. He said “the worst thing is, this pain is so familiar. In Paris last November, terrorists seemed to target places that symbolize everything that is wonderful about France — culture, music, restaurants. And in Orlando early this morning a gunman attacked a Latin night at a gay club in the theme park capital of the world. And for the record, I will happily embrace a Latin night at a gay club in the theme park capital of the world as the ultimate symbol of what is truly wonderful about America.”

Oliver also admitted, “It’s hard to even know what to do in the wake of an event like this.”

He explained that the comedy show would proceed with “jarringly inappropriate jangly music,” and he explained why: ” …on a day when some dipshit terrorist wants us to focus on one man’s act of brutality and hatred, it might be worth seeing this video, which was posted to Twitter today.”

Oliver then showed a clip of hundreds of people lined up outside a blood bank in Orlando to donate blood to the victims of the gay nightclub shooting in which 50 died and 53 were killed.

“It shows hundreds and hundreds of people this morning lining up around the block in Florida waiting to donate blood,” said Oliver. “And it kind of reminds you that that terrorist dipshit is vastly outnumbered.”

Oliver then proceeded with tackling America’s retirement crisis.“I know that sounds boring,” Oliver said, without a hint of irony. “But as a favor to your future self, it’s worth watching for 20 minutes. Because you could easily make small mistakes that end up costing you down the line.”

READ: HBO’s John Oliver Gleefully Skewers Trump University’s Salesmanship

To the segment of the population lucky enough to be able to afford to put money aside for their golden years, the fake anchorman’s advice was threefold: be extremely leery of who is helping invest, watch out for hidden fees and actively managed retirement funds may, in all likelihood, be complete hogwash.

His granular description of Excel spreadsheets, hidden percentage points and broker miscalculations were no doubt intended to underscore how needlessly complicated the voodoo economics of our country’s retirement financials can be. But the case study ultimately slowed the show’s comedic momentum to a crawl. Given the tragedy that preceded the show just hours earlier, perhaps the lack of humor was understandable.

Chris Lee is a former staff writer for Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He covers entertainment, culture and business in Los Angeles.