Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 1, Episode 8 - Episode #1.8 - full transcript

John highlights recent news such as the problems of tourism in Antarctica, discusses international royalty as a service to Game of Thrones fans and panders to the audience in response to allegations against Dr. Oz.

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Welcome, welcome, welcome! To "Last Week Tonight."

I'm John Oliver. Thanks for being with us.

Very excited. Let's get into it.

Quick roundup of the week. Let's start with Iraq,

where things went from worse to worser.

4 towns on the highway between the Syrian border and Baghdad

fell yesterday to ISIS.

That is the Sunni militant group, an offshoot of Al Qaeda,

that is wreaking havoc in the country.

OK, well, that settles it.

The Iraq-Syria border just earned the title of



"Scariest place in
the entire world."

You had a good run,
Kevin Spacey's sex dungeon.

The White House
announced this week

that we will be
sending some support.

Although they made one thing
almost overly clear.

They are not being sent
to participate in combat.

Their role is not
combat mission.

This is not a combat mission.

This is not
a combat mission.

It is not a combat mission.

This is not
a combat mission.

The president was
crystal clear--

this is not a combat mission.

Be careful.
If you say,



"This is not a combat mission"
5 times into a mirror,

30,000 troops appear
spontaneously in Baghdad.

Be careful.

So, who exactly are we sending
on this non-combat mission?

More United States forces
are heading to Iraq.

President Obama
plans to send up to

300 military advisors
to the country.

300 military advisors.

Please don't tell me
that that is

the next installment
in the "300" franchise.

Spartans, prepare for glory!

And remember--we are
here purely

in a non-combat
advisory capacity!

Tonight, we dine in--the hotel!

Meanwhile this week,
in Thailand,

they're still reeling from
last month's military coup,

which was followed by
curfews and clampdowns

on freedom of speech.

However, the general who led
the coup has promised to create,

and I quote, a "genuine
democracy" in Thailand.

Which sounds nice.

But something about this photo

doesn't exactly scream
"genuine democracy" to me.

I'm telling you,
just add Kyle MacLachlan

and a tiny dancing man
in a red suit,

you've got yourself an actual
David Lynch movie.

Since then, the general has
tried to put a friendlier face

on that dystopian nightmare by
launching--and this is true--

a "happiness campaign."

And what makes people happier than free stuff?

Free broadcasts of all
64 World Cup games.

They're also giving away
movie tickets,

throwing free concerts
in Bangkok

with singing soldiers
and scantily clad women,

and even brought horses
with bales of hay downtown

for people to pet.

Well, if they think people
are that easy to manipulate,

they are right.

"Look, I can't vote or express
dissent, but look at him!

"He's so soft!

I'm going to name him
Huckleberry!"

Huckleberry the horsey.

And if that doesn't work,
the general still has

one amazing final trick
up his sleeve.

MALE ANNOUNCER: The army
chief general Prayuth Chan-Ocha

wants to return happiness
to Thailand.

So much so that he wrote
a ballad about it.

Oh, general, you didn't need to

win them over
with power ballads.

You had them at
"Do not leave your homes

after 10:00 p.m. at night."

And finally tonight,
let's talk about Antarctica.

I'm afraid it's been
a week of bad news.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: New research
from Australian scientists says

tourists are threatening
the Antarctic biodiversity

with pollution
and physical disturbances.

SECOND FEMALE ANNOUNCER: More
than 40,000 people actually

visit Antarctica
every single year,

and scientists say even
walking on moss beds

will leave footprints that
could last for centuries.

Look, I know this isn't how
I'm supposed to react to that,

but that really makes me want to
walk on an Antarctic moss bed.

Which is why Antarctica
is in serious trouble.

Environmental destruction
is not enough

to stop the tide of
tourists and morning shows

desperate for unusual
travel segment filler.

You may not think of Antarctica
as a vacation destination,

but apparently that's changing.

MALE ANNOUNCER: The number-one
reason folks say

they come on tour groups?

To see those human-like
flightless birds, the penguins.

And then they "Mmm'mmm'mm"

and then they cry when they're
hungry "Aahh ahh ahh."

Some of the freshest water
you'll probably ever taste

because it dates back
400,000 years.

What are you doing?

Tragically, the Antarctic ice
shelf is rapidly diminishing.

Now, if you'll excuse me--

So pure. Mmm.
So rare.

That is the problem.

I know we're not supposed
to go to Antarctica,

but there are free penguins
and sno-cones there.

So, they're going to
have to launch

a pretty strong
anti-tourist campaign,

or we'll do it for them.

MALE ANNOUNCER: Antarctica,
the majestic seventh continent.

An unspoiled land of
incredible ice formations

that you simply have to see.

And seeing as how you're
looking at them right now,

you've technically seen them.

So, don't come here.

Seriously, you want to feel
the bracing cold on your skin?

Stick your dick in a freezer.

You want to see
a seal up close?

Here. Here's a seal up close.

Now here's a seal in HD.
Now it's in 3-D.

It's like you're actually here,
which, hopefully, you're not.

Our point is you don't
need to come here.

Want to impress your friends
by going someplace exotic?

How about Belgium.

Have your friends
been to Belgium? No?

Then it's exotic to them.

And if you simply have to have
ice, go to Alaska and tell them

you went to Antarctica.

They won't know the difference.

Hey, guess which
of these is Alaska?

You don't know, do you?
It's both of them.

We don't care where
in the world you go,

just so long as it's in this
general area and not here.

Gotta go.
You have to visit.

Let's move on.

Look, let's deal with the
elephant in the room tonight.

I'm sorry that "Game of Thrones"
is not on anymore.

But I may be able to help you
with your withdrawal,

because recently there was
some real-life royal news.

The king of Spain, Juan Carlos,
has announced he's abdicating

after nearly 40 years in power.

See? Who's missing
"Game of Thrones" now, huh?

Who needs decapitations
or poisonings

when you've got a 76-year-old
man peacefully resigning?

I will say, I am totally
against abdications.

No tour guide should
ever be able to say,

"Here is where our
ex-king lives,"

and point to
a one-bedroom apartment.

There is a place where ex-kings
are supposed to go

and it's called the ground.

The problem was that public
opinion had turned against

King Juan Carlos for
his lavish lifestyle

in the midst of
Spain's recession.

Which meant that his son's
coronation this week

was a bit underwhelming.

MALE ANNOUNCER: As coronations
go, this one was a deliberate

bargain basement job.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: King Felipe VI
received the red sash

of the captain general
of the armed forces

from his father Juan Carlos.

That's it?

You didn't even get a crown?

Just a red fucking sash
that your daddy put on you?

What are you, the king of Spain,

or a kid who just got
a new belt in karate class?

And you call this
a royal parade?

You're just taking
an Uber around the city.

Let me show you something.
This is a parade.

This is what happened
in Los Angeles this week

to celebrate their hockey team
winning the Stanley Cup.

That's right.
The L.A. Kings

had a bigger parade than
the actual Spanish king.

And L.A. doesn't give
a shit about hockey.

But all this raises
a much bigger question--

why does any country
still have royalty at all?

There are currently
26 royal families

reigning in 43 countries.

That's 43 countries
where asking,

"Who died and made you king?"

is an entirely
legitimate question.

Don't get me wrong.
At one point,

monarchies did serve a genuine
historical purpose.

Kings and queens
were all-powerful.

They either led their countries
into battle on horses

or kept the peace by being
strategically married off

to other royal families.

"Let us commemorate this treaty
by having our children fuck."

"Can we still invade Italy?"

"I'll just check
the family tree.

"No, I'm afraid not.

Our cousins are banging
their cousins."

And if you want
modern proof of this,

just look at who
was in the room

at the recent
British royal wedding.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: After centuries of
continental coupling,

many of Europe's royals
are related by blood

to the British crown.

There's a lot of cousins, and
they probably don't even know

who's related to who.

The gene pool, the gene pool of
European royalty is so small,

the only difference between
that and an Alabama wedding

are the amount of paper plates at the reception

and how drunk the violin player
is going to be.

Now, to be fair, some of
the current 26 monarchies

still have that
old-school flavor.

And if you want some modern-day
"Game of Thrones" shit,

you have got to head
to the Middle East,

where some royal families have
virtually unchecked power,

and they act like it.

A few years back, a member of

the United Arab Emirates
royal family

was charged with
a horrifying crime.

On the videotape
that was released

by a business associate
of Sheikh Issa,

you can see Sheikh Issa
and others torturing this man.

He's been acquitted
despite 5 other people

who are also charged over this
being found guilty.

Yeah, because
unfortunately for them,

the judge found them guilty
not just of that

but the much larger
crime of not being

a member of
the royal family there.

And sure, that's just
one rogue family member.

But that's the key drawback
of inherited power--

having a monarchy means
the fate of your country

is basically a genetic lottery.

Because every family
has the one fuckup

they talk about
behind their backs.

And if you're thinking,
"My family doesn't,"

then I'm afraid it's you.

I'm sorry about that.

But sooner or later,
every country

loses a round of
royal roulette.

Now, remember the military coup
in Thailand

at the start of the show?

That's happening, at least
in part, because Thailand

loves their current king.

The problem is, he's near
the end of his life,

and his son is an idiot.

MALE ANNOUNCER: He is enormously
unpopular within the country.

The crown prince is considered
a bit of a buffoon.

That's right: Thailand actually
has a buffoonish crown prince.

And I understand why
the Thai people are upset,

because they have a law where
you can get 15 years in jail

for insulting the monarchy.

And yet they have a prince who
featured in--and this is true--

a video of a birthday party
he threw for his dog,

a miniature poodle
called Foo Foo,

in which his topless wife served the dog birthday cake.

And you're telling me they're

not supposed to
make fun of that?

That's entrapment.

That's not fair.

You ask too much.

And I'll be honest.
I'll be honest.

Seeing stories like that
is enough to make me glad

that the queen of England
is mostly decorative now.

In fact, the most relevant thing
she's done recently

was announce that this week,
she's going to visit

the "Game of Thrones" set.

The queen of England
is heading to Westeros.

The British monarch will visit
the Belfast set next week

during her tour of
Northern Ireland.

We're all waiting for a shot of
her sitting in the iron throne.

Oh, you don't need to wait.

Here. There she is.
There.

There she is right now,

embodying the harsh irony
that is her existence.

Because at that moment
next week,

she will be a queen with fake
power, visiting a fake kingdom,

which arguably has more impact
on the lives of her countrymen

than she does.

And now this.

I'm not a doctor.
I'm not a psychologist.

I'm not
a psychiatrist.

I'm not
a psychologist.

I'm not a security professional.

I'm not
a drape measurer.

I'm not a witch.

I'm not a scientist.

I'm not a scientist
but I'm an optometrist.

I am not a
politician by trade.

I'm not a control freak.

I'm not a Ron Paul Republican.

I'm not a dingo.

Well, I'm not a repairman.

I'm not a doom and gloom person.

I am not an empty dress,
I am not a rubber stamp,

and I am not a cheerleader!

Now, finally, finally tonight,

I would like to talk
about doctors.

They're among our most
trusted professionals.

Nearly 70% of us rate them
highly on ethical standards.

Our lives and occasionally
our balls are in their hands.

Which is why it was especially
troubling last week to see this.

With his syndicated TV show,
magazine, and web site,

Dr. Oz has become one of
America's most trusted docs.

But on Capitol Hill Tuesday,
he was on the hot seat.

Excuse me, but any seat Dr. Oz
is sitting on is the hot seat.

Whoo.

Whoo. Whoo.

So, what did the doctor do?

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: They
criticized the talk show host

for describing untested
weight loss supplements

as magical or miraculous.

I want you to write it down--
garcinia cambogia.

Because it may be the simple
solution you've been looking for

to bust your body fat for good.

Now, I've got the number-one
miracle in a bottle

to burn your fat.

Lightning in a bottle.

It's a miracle flower
to fight fat.

Miracle flowers?

Are you a doctor or an Old West
traveling salesman?

"Have I got something miraculous
for you, ladies and gentlemen!

"A monkey's paw mixed with
5 petals of a rose

"and a thimble full of
otter semen!

"Guaranteed to cure
your lumbago.

Step right up.
Step right up here."

The Senate hearing was about

the marketing of
dietary supplements.

And unfortunately, no one is

more effective at that
than Dr. Oz.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: Oz's advice
is so influential

that one mention of a product
can cause sales to skyrocket.

The phenomenon even has its
own name--the Dr. Oz effect.

After Dr. Oz touted
a substance called

green coffee bean extract,

one company in Florida
sold half a million bottles.

Well, what's so wrong with that?

Name me one case where a man
named Oz claimed mystical powers

and led people horribly astray.

Name me one case.
You can't do it.

The only problem with
the "Dr. Oz effect"

is that magic pills don't
technically exist,

and Dr. Oz knows that.

MAN: Do you believe that there's a miracle
pill out there?

There's not a pill that's
going to help you long term,

lose weight, live the best life
without diet and exercise.

MAN: Do you believe
there's a magic

weight-loss cure
out there?

The word--if you're
selling something

because it's magical, no.

Well, what?

That would be ridiculous.

No one is claiming there's
a magic pill out there.

That would be stupid.

This little bean
has scientists saying

they've found the magic
weight-loss cure

for every body type.

See? He never said
there was a magic pill.

He said there was a magic bean!

That's clearly entirely
different, because magic beans

are a very real thing
that you trade your cow for

so you can steal a golden
harp from a giant!

That's science.

And by the way,
a recent study found

the main ingredient
in those magic beans

not only fails to help lab mice,

it gave them the early
symptoms of diabetes.

Though if you're a lab mouse
with diabetes, you got off easy.

Good luck getting any sympathy
in the lab mouse support group.

"Oh, I'm sorry you
can't have any candy.

"I've got an ear growing
out of my fucking back!

Jeff's got herpes.
Sorry, Jeff."

Here's the issue--
Dr. Oz is a doctor.

And one with degrees from
two Ivy League schools.

He's also dangerously likable.

Watch how "Morning Joe" reacted

after seeing bits of his
congressional testimony.

I only bought them once.
It didn't work.

WOMAN: Did you buy them because you saw them
on "Dr. Oz"?

I like Dr. Oz, OK?
So--

I like him a lot.

And he's come here
with really good advice.

He has great advice.

And listen, if he's got magic
coffee beans,

I want some of that. WOMAN: Me, too.

You just showed a report
that implied they didn't work!

You basically just did an
"Emperor's New Clothes" piece

and then ended it by saying,
"By the way, the emperor's

"tailor was incredible.

That guy can stitch."

And to give Dr. Oz the benefit
of overwhelming medical doubt,

he seems to be standing by some of his claims.

I actually do personally
believe in the items

that I talk about on the show.

I passionately study them.

I recognize that oftentimes they
don't have the scientific muster

to present as fact.

But that's the whole point.

You're presenting it
as a doctor.

If you want to keep spouting
this bullshit, that's fine,

but don't call your show
"Dr. Oz."

Call it "Check This Shit Out
with Some Guy Named Mehmet."

The problem is--it's
a good title, to be fair.

The problem is
this Senate hearing

is going to achieve nothing,
for a very chilling reason.

Beyond embarrassing Dr. Oz,

there's very little that
Congress can do in this arena.

It is the Federal
Trade Commission's job

to go after online scams
and even they, Gayle,

can only scratch the surface.

She's right.
Dr. Oz

is just a symptom
of the problem.

The disease is the fact that
dietary supplements in the U.S.

are shockingly unregulated.

There are two agencies who
theoretically oversee things,

the FTC and the FDA.

The FTC is
supposed to regulate

the marketing of supplements.

But by their own
admission, they give

great deference to the FDA

on whether a company's
health claim can be supported.

The problem with that is
the FDA has little authority

to investigate the contents
of supplements until

people are already
getting sick from them.

That sounds crazy,
and in the past,

they actually tried
to change this.

In the late 1980s,
38 people died

from L-tryptophan supplements,
and in response, the FDA

tried to expand its authority.

How did that go?

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: In 1993,
the industry struck back.

Consumers were urged to write
to their congressman

or told they may have to kiss
their Vitamin C goodbye.

So, did people write
to their congressman?

More people wrote to Congress about the supplement bill

than wrote about
the Vietnam War.

What?

How good must the pro-vitamin
protest songs have been?

Ginseng!

Huh!

What is it good for?

Sexual dysfunction
and Type 2 diabetes

Say it again, y'all!

Say it again

Actually, there were
actually no protest songs,

but there were PSAs put out
by the supplement industry

featuring not just
jackbooted thugs

coming to take your vitamins,

but a surprise celebrity cameo.

MAN: Freeze!

Hey, guys, guys,

it's only vitamins.

Oh, 1993 was a different time.

When you could plausibly say,
"Hey, be quiet, everybody.

Let's all listen to what
Mel Gibson has to say."

And the supplement industry
didn't just pay for ads.

They gave money to lawmakers

like Republican Senator
Orrin Hatch

and Democratic Senator
Tom Harkin.

This was them back then.

They actually became
the two top recipients

of funds from the industry,

and, in a crazy coincidence,

they co-sponsored a bill
to deregulate it.

I send to the desk
a substitute amendment

on behalf of Senators
Hatch and Harkin.

Today we honor the wishes
of 100 million people,

consumers of
dietary supplements.

People who simply
want the ability

to lead healthy lifestyles

without the
constant intervention

of one tiny agency
which is possessed by

a regulatory zeal
equaling none.

"Regulatory zeal"?

He just criticized
a regulatory agency

for being too into
regulating things.

That's like accusing
your podiatrist

of having a foot fetish.

"Dude, dude, dude,
you're obsessed with feet.

Just tone it down a bit."

Now, the supplement industry
will claim that it is

"one of the more highly
regulated industries."

See how true you think that is.

Because if you're a supplement
company today,

you do not need approval
from the FDA

before a product is marketed,

you can make health claims

without prior approval
from the government,

and you don't have to prove
the safety or effectiveness

of your product before
putting it up for sale.

The industry is essentially
supposed to police itself.

That's like one of
those porn sites

that asks you to enter
your own age.

Which basically just ends up
teaching children

how to subtract 18
from the current year.

It doesn't work.

Which may explain why, since
1994, the supplement industry

has gone from making $4 billion
to $32 billion a year.

With almost no side effects.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: People who consume
tainted dietary supplements

have suffered from negative side
effects like severe bleeding,

strokes, liver damage,
or even death.

MALE ANNOUNCER: Health officials
say the common item

linked to several recent cases
of acute liver failure in Hawaii

is OxyElite Pro.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:
Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler,

who died after taking Ephedra

during last spring training.

Ephedra stayed on the market
an extra two years

after many experts
asked for a ban.

Meantime, the number of deaths
rose to 155,

with 16,000 adverse events.

Wow, that's enough to make you
wish for an agency

with a certain amount of,
oh, what's the phrase?

Regulatory zeal.

And yet lawmakers still
resist regulation.

Because when, two years ago,
a bill was proposed suggesting

supplements should carry
warning labels about

potentially dangerous
side effects,

you'll never guess
who popped up again.

The FDA already has
a tremendous amount of

regulatory oversight
and enforcement tools

when it comes to
dietary supplements.

Every supplement has a label,

has the ingredients
and the potency, by law,

on every single item that is
sold as a supplement.

That's right--Hatch and Harkin,

who in 2012 had
retained their title

of the top two recipients
of campaign funds

from the supplement industry.

See? Two decades later,

those campaign contributions,
still working.

Who says nutritional supplements
don't have long-lasting effects?

And by the way, on the point
that Senator Harkin made,

about how every supplement has
a label saying what's inside it.

Well, funny story.
When a group of researchers

recently DNA tested supplements

from a dozen
North American companies,

they found that 1/3 contained
no trace whatsoever

of the plant advertised
on the bottle.

If one in 3 milk bottles
didn't contain milk,

you might think twice about
pouring the white mystery liquid

all over your cereal.

But none of this
is likely to change,

because companies have access
to the one genuinely truly

effective wonder drug.

It's called lobbying.

And here's how
the science works.

FDA regulation can really
stop up your profits,

jamming up your whole
money-making system,

which can lead to
painful effects

on the company's bottom line,

but with lobbying's
somehow-legal process,

all those pesky regulations
just melt away into nothingness,

giving you that comfortable
corporate feeling

of shitting money
almost uncontrollably.

Ask your lawyers if
lobbying is right for you.

But none of this--none of this
answers the key

Dr. Oz question.

Now, he says he wasn't paid to
mention any particular products.

So, why say those things
on TV at all?

In an intent to engage viewers,
I use flowery language.

I used language that was
very passionate.

That makes sense because
we're all looking for

flowery language from our physicians.

"Like the sunlight shines upon
the hidden grassy meadow,

so does Chlamydia cast a warm
glow upon your private parts."

And when he says engaging
viewers, that is the problem.

Perhaps his fatal flaw
is that he's done

870 daily hour-long shows
about health and medicine,

which is impossible.

Sooner or later, you're going to
get tired of doing shows about

what your poop should look like
with Cameron Diaz.

OZ: Does this
ever happen to you?

Luckily, no.

I'm not a girl that
gets constipated.

Good for you.

Lucky you, Diaz.
Lucky you.

And instead of that,
you're going to get tempted

to overstretch and do a show
with a title like

"Can an aspirin a day
keep cancer away?"

to which the answer
is clearly, "No.

Not entirely."

Because I feel like if it did,

we wouldn't be hearing about it
for the first time at 4:00 p.m.

on a Wednesday afternoon.

"Hey, did you hear
that they cured cancer?"

"No, I was watching
Wendy Williams."

And look, the frustrating
thing is,

it's easy to fill a show
with shameless pandering

without dangerously misleading
medical information.

Here. I'll show you.

I'll show you pandering
that you wouldn't believe.

Hey, everyone--
wouldn't it be great

if we had a Skype interview

with George R.R. Martin, the
writer of "Game of Thrones"?

OK. Let's do it.

Hey, George, George,
how's the writing going?

I just killed 3 of your
favorite characters.

What? It's not Arya?

It's not Arya,
is it?

George, it's not Arya.

Please tell me
it's not Arya.

Give me the truth!
Damn you, Martin!

OK, well, people
seemed to like that

and no one got hurt, so,
let's keep pandering.

Everyone likes puppies,
don't they?

Here's a puppy right now!

Here's a puppy.

Hello, puppy.

Hello, puppy.
And look. Look.

Neither I nor the puppy are
making unsubstantiated claims

about potentially harmful
dietary supplements!

You're not doing that,
are you, puppy?

Look. Because you don't need to,
do you, precious?

You don't need to.
And look, look,

here's something else
that people like--

women in trashy dresses throwing
wine in each others' faces!

These are--
they love it.

Stop! Calm down,
ladies, calm down.

It's all fabricated.

Let's keep pandering.

Who wants a t-shirt?

Who wants a t-shirt?

Let's pander it up.
Who wants a t-shirt?

Who wants a t-shirt?
Who wants--

People love t-shirts,
they love t-shirts

almost as much as they love
celebrities dancing!

And guess what--here's
Steve Buscemi, tap dancing!

Perfect.

Hey, Steve.

Hey.

Hey, Steve...
Steve...

do you even know
how to tap dance?

Not really.

Hey, Steve,

any thoughts, Steve,

on the questionable
benefits

of dietary supplements?

Oh, John, this isn't
really the time or place

for that discussion.

Exactly!
That's the point!

See, Dr. Oz?
We've done it!

We engaged viewers
without recommending

any unregulated products

that could potentially
induce diabetes!

And to celebrate
this pander-fest,

please welcome
the Black and Gold

Marching Elite!

Here they come.

See?
It's the music.

That's our
show tonight.

Our thanks to tap-
dancing Steve Buscemi

and to George
R.R. Martin

and the Black and Gold
Marching Elite!

Have a great week!
Good night!