“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” made its return to the air after five months on Sunday following the conclusion of the Hollywood writers’ strike.
Oliver had a lot of news to recap his first night back, doing quick riffs on everything from U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert to “Barbenheimer,” but he did take some time out to talk about the strike.
”I wish so much I could have told you these jokes at the time, but I couldn’t because our writers, the people who wrote those jokes, were forced to strike for a fair contract for the last five months,” Oliver said. “And it was an immensely difficult time, not just for them but for everyone else working on this show and many others who could no longer do their jobs. And to be clear, this strike happened for good reasons. Our industry has seen its work severely squeezed in recent years. You’ve probably seen stories about writers and actors whose work you may even recognize, routinely not making enough to qualify for health insurance or afford basic needs.”
Oliver praised the “sacrifices” of all those who worked towards the WGA‘s new deal with Hollywood’s studios, but he had some choice words for those studios as well.
“While I’m happy that [the WGA] eventually got a fair deal and immensely proud of what our union accomplished, I’m also furious that it took the studios 148 days to achieve a deal that they could have offered on day f—ing one,” he said. “Hopefully, this might encourage others, from auto workers to Starbucks baristas to healthcare providers, whether they are in unions or would like to be, to find power in each other. And within our particular industry.”
He closed out the segment by offering hope that both SAG-AFTRA and IATSE will be able to take what the writers’ have won and use it to get their own new contracts with the studios.
“Because the truth is, it takes many people working really hard to make film and TV, all of whom deserve a piece of the pie and for the actors in particular, they cannot come back to work soon enough,” he said.
Oliver is the latest late-night host to make his return since the strike ended. Bill Maher brought back “Real Time” on Friday, Sept. 29, while shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” will return Monday night.