Ever since it first began two years ago, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has endeared itself to viewers for its deep-dive segments on such far-flung topics as televangelists, sex ed and even cicadas. This week is proving to be no exception, as Oliver’s thoughts on Guantánamo have already amassed some 500,000 views since being uploaded last night.
Oliver begins by recalling that President Obama made closing the prison an early focus of his administration but has had his efforts repeatedly stymied. From there he gives a compendious primer on tits history and logistics (“We’re basically Cuba’s grandparents,” he says of the fact that we pay the island nation a nominal fee every year) and the cavalcade of absurdity that has followed: Gitmo’s toiletries carry the Maximum Security branding; Casio watches have been used as “evidence” against suspects; an inmate who was held without charge for 14 years compares his experiences to those of Azkaban prisoners in “Harry Potter” (the most widely available book in the prison’s library) and finds solace in a White Snake song.
Like a lot of “Last Week Tonight” segments, this one’s as funny as it is dispiriting — especially when Oliver points out the possibility of ending up in Gitmo himself should Trump succeed Obama. Watch the full 20-minute clip below.