John Oliver Hosted a 'Definitely Weird' Show on Sunday

HBO host says this was the week coronavirus went from 'an abstraction to a very real threat' in US
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2020 3:39 PM CDT

Late-night TV shows have nixed studio audiences or canceled production altogether during the novel coronavirus outbreak, and John Oliver noted how bizarre it all was during his own Sunday night broadcast. In a special episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight—aired from an unknown studio, with its host sitting at a glass desk in front of a white background, notes the Daily Beast—Oliver explained that the show's usual studio, as well as its office building, each had confirmed cases of the virus, so staff started working from home, leaving just a skeleton crew to tape the latest episode. "This is definitely weird," he noted. "As you can clearly tell, this is not going to be our usual show." Oliver then launched into a 30-minute set about the virus, which has led to more than 170,000 cases around the world, with nearly 6,700 deaths as of Monday, per the New York Times.

Oliver commented on the surrealness of it all, noting "this was the week that the coronavirus, for many people here in the US, seemed to go from an abstraction to a very real threat." Oliver also touched on the frustrating lack of testing in the US, how President Trump had disbanded the National Security Council's pandemic unit in 2018, and the "all-time low" of Trump shaking the hands of several CEOs at a Friday Rose Garden presser, despite having been potentially exposed to the virus himself. Oliver's sobering conclusion: "We're gonna need to look out for one another and not just in terms of containing the transmission of this virus, but also in terms of the economic impact that this is going to have on people who may well not be able to weather it. This is going to be an unsettling and potentially lonely time." Watch the entire clip here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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