How does a show top the explosion of a calendar year and the sudden manifestation of a small army of wax figures of U.S. presidents? For “Last Week Tonight,” the answer was: Combine them.
On Sunday’s episode, the HBO series capped off Season 5 by delivering a video parodying “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, with the help of Armie Hammer and the quintet of wax statesmen that was the 2017 big finish. Using some of the same scale and penchant for destruction that resulted in setting fire to a giant 2016 in the wake of that year’s presidential election, the result is a surprisingly-budgeted effort that reimagines centuries-dead American figures in an international memorabilia heist.
Their target — naturally — is the now-legendary “Cinderella Man” jockstrap the show purchased at a Russell Crowe estate auction, sparking a season-long joke battle that also led to the funding of a koala STD ward at an Australian animal hospital. That first volley in the back-and-forth resulted in a last-ditch attempt to help bring attention to one of the sole remaining Blockbuster Video stores in Alaska. With the Fairbanks and Anchorage locations both shutting down, host John Oliver said on the show that the “Last Week Tonight” trove of Crowe memorabilia — sans the jockstrap — would now be heading to the last Blockbuster bastion in Bend, Oregon.
Of course, none of this changes the fact that this wax Jimmy Carter is a nightmare creation that will stare through into your very soul. (Oh, and don’t forget about the season finale’s segment on authoritarianism, which features no luxury car crashes and no celebrity cameos, but is still a valuable reminder of the dangers of creeping consolidated power.)
Watch the full video (including a surprise appearance from a very interested party) below:
“Last Week Tonight” will return in 2019.