John Oliver’s weekly HBO news show, Last Week Tonight, has been lauded — often using hyperbolic language — for its ability to unpack dense, sometimes esoteric political, judicial, and social topics and explain the stakes of said topic in relation to our everyday lives. Nearly every Monday morning while Last Week Tonight is airing new episodes, the previous night’s main segment gets passed around social media as evidence that Oliver “eviscerated,” “destroyed,” or “obliterated” this prominent figure or that shady organization.
In 2015, the Daily Beast proclaimed that John Oliver obliterated Dr. Oz. In August, the Guardian professed that he ripped Donald Trump. This September, Slate asserted that he eviscerated birds. Vox has its own fair share of hyperbolic Oliver recaps.
But as we found out on Tuesday, there may be one demographic that doesn’t really seem to give a damn about John Oliver or whom he’s destroying this week: gay men.
TruTV’s Billy Eichner and his show Billy on the Street took Oliver to the avenues and blocks of what appears to be Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and asked gay men for their opinion — or, really, just awareness — of Oliver. The overwhelming majority of them (well, those who appeared in the segment) professed they didn’t know who Oliver was, and had no problem telling him that to his face. However, many of them knew Wendy Williams and preferred her to Oliver.
Oliver is a good sport in the segment, and his willingness to face people who don’t know him — despite his weekly evisceration of various topics — makes for good-natured fun that also pokes some holes in his reputation as a dependable destroyer of things.