John Oliver Enlists Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin, and More in Last Week Tonight‘s Guardianship Story
"Shut up Neil! Shut up!"
Yesterday’s Last Week Tonight (or “I just wanted to watch a comedy show and go to sleep but now I’m sad with Johnny Joy-Killer” as John Oliver calls it) addressed Trump’s gigantic letter from North Korea, Babchenko faking his death, and the incredible story of the fake royal expert from upstate New York. The main story of the episode was about senior citizens and guardianship, a system that can be great when it works, but absolutely horrific when it doesn’t.
The host begins by talking about the 49 million Americans who are 65 or older, and the fact that the number will only grow in a surge sometimes called the “Silver Tsunami,” (or “the nickname that Christopher Plummer goes by at his underground cage fighting ring”). What we see then, is that senior citizens and elders often end up in cases of guardian corruption and exploitation as guardians take advantage of their ward with ridiculous charges—the April Parks case being one of the most notable.
Oliver goes through various financial records that’ll make your jaw drop, including one where a guardian essentially charged 100 hours in a day and another that saw $108 being charged for stretch pants. The 100 hours, the host points out, impossible unless one is on planet mercury, which “as we all know each day lasts 1407 earth hours.”
If that seemed a bit more science-y than Last Week Tonight‘s usual jokes, Oliver confesses, “I’ll be honest, that’s a joke exclusively designed for Neil deGrasse Tyson.” But what did Tyson think of the joke? The scientist notorious for fact-checking and correction briefly weighs in:
“Yeah, but the time you gave was the rotational rate of Mercury. That’s not the same thing as a day. A day on Mercury would be from sunrise to sunrise, of course. (3 times longer than what Oliver gave)”
The host responds, briefly alluding to the Sam Bee’s “feckless c**t” comment directed at Ivanka Trump. “Shut up Neil! Shut up!” says Oliver, “Why do you have to ruin everything! Just enjoy something, for once in your fucking life! What is wrong with you, you feckless — oh, never mind, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. Bad idea.”
A big NO THANK YOU goes out to @neiltyson who couldn’t allow himself to enjoy the joke we wrote JUST FOR HIM.
— Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) June 4, 2018
But turning back to guardianship, Oliver emphasizes the lack of resources in state and local courts, and the lack of regulations, including the fact that only 12 states require professional guardians to be certified. There’s a lot to be done in how we take care of our elders, and the host points out that it’s also necessary, though a “fucking nightmare” to have frank conversations with our older citizens about how they want to be taken care of.
Aware that he’s less of a senior citizen and more of a “holy shit is he really only 41-year-old”, the episode concludes with a PSA from Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin, William Shatner, Fred Willard, and Rita Moreno about aging, hippos, and making Tom Hanks your guardian.
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