Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 2, Episode 29 - Mental Health - full transcript

John discusses Russia's involvement in Syria, the U.N. General Assembly, and the problems with the national system for treating mental illness.

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Series II
Episode 29

Welcome, welcome, welcome
to Last Week Tonight.

Thank you so much for joining us.
I'm John Oliver.

Just time for a quick
recap of the week.

And we start with Russia.
Earth's Death Star.

Their leader, Vladimir Putin has a
lot on his plate at the moment.

But this week, he decided
to add one more thing.

Let's get to the breaking news.

Russia launches its first airstrikes
in Syria

saying it targeted ISIS
positions near the city of Homs.

One official says the Pentagon was
taken aback by the Russian actions.

That is just what the geopolitical
shit salad that is Syria needed

a little Russian dressing on top.

If you are wondering why Putin has
decided to intervene in Syria,

there's actually an
interesting theory.

And you can argue in some ways that
what Putin is doing now in Syria

is a way to distract the
Russian population

from a combination of its
worsening economy

and from the fact that its forces are
bogged down in Eastern Ukraine.

What ? You can't just bomb Syria

anytime you need to distract people
from mistakes that you've made !

When Tom Brady was accused of using
deflating footballs,

he did not order
airstrikes on Aleppo,

he screamed into an Ugg boot while
masturbating into a different boot.

Just a normal, healthy
response that he does.

There is some concern about whether
Russia is actually getting involved

to shore up Syrian dictator
Bashar al-Assad.

And one journalist tried to bring
this up

during a photo op with John Kerry and
the Russian foreign minister.

But the question was rebuffed
in memorable fashion.

Secretary Kerry, are you...

It's politically incorrect for a lady
to address a gentleman on her knees.

Thank you very much good to see you.

Okay, okay.

Two things first, it is a sign of how
few fucks Vladimir Putin gives

that that awful man is one of
his diplomats.

And that is the exact moment that John
Kerry realizes he has a terrible job.

Not only does he have to stop a civil
war from spinning out of control,

but now he has to calm a room that
has just witnessed a foreign minister

attempt to neg a female journalist
into blowjob.

That's a terrible job he has.

So let's move on to the UN.

The sister organization of the
International House of Pancakes.

The UN hosted its general
debate this week.

We don't have time to talk
about all of it,

but there were a few spectacular
moments you may have missed.

First, Robert Mugabe chose to defend
Zimbabwe's laws on homosexuality

with a jarring statement.

We equally reject attempts to
prescribe new rights

that are contrary to our values,
norms, traditions and beliefs.

We are not gays.

We are not gays.

And in case you're wondering, he did
not follow that up by saying,

"We are not gays because no one is
gay. And no one is straight.

Sexuality is a beautiful spectrum and
any attempt to impose a dichotomy

upon our shared human experience is
both narrow-minded and oppressive."

He did not say that.

That's not how he finished
that thought.

Also, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu
chose to criticize the assembly

for what he saw as its
indifference to Israel,

by essentially engaging in a staring
contest with the entire room.

The response from nearly every one of
the governments represented here

has been absolutely nothing.

Utter silence.

Deafening silence.

That went on for 45 seconds !
I swear that is true.

And staring at a room for 45
seconds is never a good idea,

because I guarantee you half the
room thinks you're a dick,

half worries you might be buffering,

and one guy is desperately trying to
hold in a fart.

That's what happens in 45 seconds.

But perhaps the strangest moment of
the week

involved Belarusian dictator
Alexander Lukashenko,

who got people talking simply
by how he used his plus one.

This happens to be the contingent
from Belarus.

Explain, who is this young chap ?

This young gentlemen, it looks like
the youngest son

of the President
Lokashenko, Alexander Lokashenko.

Yes, Lukashenko brought his
11-year-old son to the UN.

And why not ? Kids love
the general assembly.

It's like if everyone from the "It's a
Small World" ride at Disney World

came to life and hated each other.

And interestingly, this
is not unusual behavior.

In the past, Lukashenko has brought
his son

to meet the Chinese
president, to meet the Pope,

and even to military parades, where
his son wore a matching uniform,

like a militaristic mini-me.

And if you are thinking, this couldn't
look any more

like the origin story
of a Bond villain,

you're wrong, because here is a photo
of him showing

the former Russian president
his actual golden gun.

Listen, world if we learned one
thing from the UN this week,

it's that we're going to find a way of
paying the trillion-dollar ransom

that this kid is soon going to demand,

or else he kills us all
with his space laser.

And finally, finally this week, we
move on to the secret service.

The only people on earth who can
pull of aviator sunglasses.


It's been a rough few years for the
secret service, and unfortunately,

this week, there was
yet another scandal.

Some new trouble for the secret
service after a review

by the homeland security's inspector

found dozens of agents
improperly accessed

Jason Chaffetz's unsuccessful job
application to the agency.

The secret service wanted to embarrass
one of their biggest critics,

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, by leaking
his rejected application to join them.

Essentially behaving like a high
school table of mean girls.

"You only hate us 'cause we won't
let you sit with us, Jason.

Don't look at our food.
You're making it uncool."

I don't know what's worse here the
fact the secret service is so petty

that they broke the law to
embarrass Jason Chaffetz,

or the fact that they're so
stupid, they didn't realize,

if you want to embarrass
Jason Chaffetz,

just wait and he will do it for you.

Just this week, he tried to ambush the
president of Planned Parenthood

with a seemingly damaging slide.

And watch how that went.

It's the reduction over the
course of years in pink.

That's the reduction
in the breast exams.

And the red is the increase
in the abortions.

That's what's going on
in your organization.

This is, this is a slide that has
never been shown to me before.

I pulled those numbers directly
out of your corporate report.

My lawyer's informed me that the
source is Americans United for Life,

which is an anti-abortion group.
So I would check your source.

Then we will get to the bottom
of the truth of that.

You want embarrassing ?
That's embarrassing !

And that's a guy who just announced
today he wants to be House Speaker,

and yet his chart was so misleading,
a journalist later pronounced it,

"terrible and dishonest", saying
"this is not how charts work".

And it's true his chart doesn't
even have a "Y" axis.

Which means you could literally write
anything down the side of that,

including "total number of angry owls
(in millions)"

or "words ascending
vertically on a line"

and it would make just
as much sense as his.

And you don't even need charts to
embarrass Jason Chaffetz.

You just need to Google him.

We did, and we immediately found this
photo of him and Anthony Weiner,

looking like they're being blown by a
pair of goats,

or, that's just the beginning.

Or there's this video of him taste
testing burgers

on Capitol Hill and saying this.

Just a very plain cheeseburger.

Not much excitement going on
in that meat.

That's funny.

That's exactly what that goat was
thinking when it was blowing you.

Or how about, how about that time,

how about that time in 2009

he got weirdly choked up about the
death of Abraham Lincoln ?

Sadly only six weeks
into his second term,

the president was shot and
killed at Ford's Theatre.

200 years after he was born, this
humble man of great courage...

continues to be one
of our country's...

most beloved statesman.

What are you crying about ? It was 144
years ago ! It's time to move on !

He was going to be dead
by now anyway !

My point is, secret service
shame on you.

If you had known anything
about Jason Chaffetz,

you should've already known you
cannot embarrass him

more than he can
embarrass himself.

And now this.

And now people on television talking
shit about their producers.

Piper Line is not well known to a lot
of men,

Jamie Berlin, my producer,
had no idea what it was.

My producer says it's not a record,
but I'm disagreeing with him on this.

I really don't like this stuff but our
producer Anthony Katchaturian

felt it was necessary to put in here.
But really, terrible.

My producer can't fit into this dress.

I wanted to show the cartoons from the
week of the massacre.

Our lily livered executive producer
Tom Johnson wouldn't let us do that.

I did not write this or choose this.
This is all our producer.

My supremely intellectual
producer just whispered into my ear.

My producer's telling me that I
have to go,

and I'm going to take
issue with him later.

My producer has said,
rap in my ear twice.

My producer said that we had to talk
about this for the next minutes.

I do not know who my producer is.

Well that would be I don't even
know who the director is.

Moving on our main story tonight
concerns mental illness.

The thing actors pretend to
have in order to win Oscars.

Now in real life, mental health can
be something of a touchy topic.

We don't like to talk about it much

and as one psychiatrist explains, when
we do, we don't talk about it well.

Stigma still is a very big issue.

It manifests itself in the ways that
we think and talk about the,

the mentally ill and in the terms, the
words, that we use to describe them.

- For instance ?
- Wacko, psycho, cray cray.

Okay, first hearing a bearded middle
aged man use the term "cray-cray"

may have already killed
that word forever.

It's like when your mom says
something is "on fleek".

It's done.
It's just over at that point.

But second he is right.

"Cray-cray" is a terrible name to
call someone with mental illness,

although it is an excellent name for
a cartoon crayfish,

who just won a
scuttling contest.

You did it, Cray-Cray !
You won the race !

The point is, we don't talk
about mental illness well.

Sometimes, even TV personalities with
"doctor" in their names

can get it disastrously wrong.

On the next Dr. Oz...

Everybody wants to know,
am I normal or nuts.

Should you be worried ?
This behavior is ...

it's not normal.

I'm being serious, have you gone
completely insane ?

Completely insane people go outside,
suck on a rock and bark at the moon.

What the fuck is wrong with you ?

"Sucking on a rock
and barking at the moon"

is not a sign that someone is
mentally ill,

it's a sign that they are a wolf
with an iron deficiency.

You're thinking of anemic wolves,
Dr. Phil. You're getting confused.

But the clearest sign of how little we
want to talk about mental health

is that one of the only times it's
actively brought up is

as we've seen yet again this week
in the aftermath of a mass shooting,

as a means of steering the
conversation away from gun control.

This isn't guns.
This is about really mental illness.

In many of these shootings, we have
people who have mental disturbances.

We need to do a better
job in mental health.

You bet we do.

Yes, it seems there is nothing like a
mass shooting

to suddenly spark
political interest in mental health.

Although it's worth noting that
Governor Huckabee's state

got a grade of D-minus on mental
health care while he was in office.

And you can't lecture people on
something you got a D-minus in.

It's like passionately delivering a
speech on proper English grammar

by saying "we need to thunk better
about how we does word stuff.

We need to get it did." And the
aftermath of a mass shooting

might actually be the worst time to
talk about mental health.

Because the vast majority of mentally
ill people are nonviolent.

And the vast majority of gun violence
is committed by the non-mentally-ill.

In fact, mentally-ill people are far
likelier to be the victims of violence

rather than the perpetrators.

The fact we tend to discuss mental
health in a mass-shooting context

is deeply misleading.

If the only time we talked about Coca
Cola, it were in the context of this.

I'm standing here with this ice cold,

thirst quenching, deliciously
satisfying Coca-Cola

and it actually tastes better ! Now
more than ever, Coke is it !

Sure, sure, that happened.

And Coke was, undeniably,
involved in it.

But most cans of Coke
are not that one.

It would be unfair if every time you
thought of Coke, you thought of that.

But if now is our only opportunity to
have a public discussion

about mental
health, then perhaps we should do it.

Because in 2013 an estimated 43.8
million American adults

dealt with a mental illness

and ten million of us suffer from a
serious mental illness each year.

Ten million ! That almost as many
people as live in Greece.

And most of us know
a lot more about Greece

than we know about our mental
health system.

You know at least three things about
Greece its economy is collapsing.

Yanni's from there.

And Greek yogurt tastes like the ice
cream they'd make

in a town where
dancing is illegal.

You know at least three.

If you look at how our current system
deals with severe mental illness,

you'll quickly realize it's a
mess, and it always has been.

We used to lock people up in asylums,
which were often so bad,

they were known as "snake pits"

and that doesn't sound like a great
place, even if you're a snake.

You'd want some kind of snake
loft or snake bungalow.

I'm no real esnake agent.

And then,
and then, in the 1960s,

President Kennedy signed a bill

to try and close as many of those
asylums as possible.

Under this legislation, custodial
mental institutions

will be replaced
by therapeutic centers.

It should be possibly within a decade
or two

to reduce the number of patients in
mental intuitions by 50% or more.

And that was a really good idea.

Because when you see horrible places,
doing unspeakable things to people,

you are supposed to try
and shut them down.

That's why there are
so few Quizno's left.

But before you get too proud

of the fact that we shut those snake
pits down,

it turns out, we never
followed through

and properly funded the community
mental health centers

JFK had wanted
to replace them.

All those patients had
to go somewhere,

and some of the places
they wound up are shocking.

For instance, a few years ago, the AP
found that nearly 125,000 young

and middle-aged mental-health patients

were being placed in nursing homes.

And it's not a great idea to just
stick a young person

in with some old
people and then hope for the best.

That's like casting Taylor Lautner in
the new

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie.

It's unsuitable for everyone
involved in it.

And some states have been involved in
something called "greyhound therapy".

And unfortunately, that does not mean
getting to hug a trembling dog

who's 98 percent bone and gristle.

It's an even worse kind of greyhound

the kind with four wheels and a
broken toilet.

This is Rawson-Neal

the only state run psychiatric
hospital in southern Nevada.

Rawson-Neal has been accused
of Greyhound therapy.

A practice critics call unthinkable.

Discharging seriously ill patients
too soon,

then supplying them with a
one-way bus ticket out of town.

You cannot put people you'd rather not
see on a bus to another city.

If you could that's how
every breakup would end.

"Look, Greta.
It's not you, it's me.

I think you'd really enjoy your new
life in Syracuse."

And we have not even got into the
most depressingly common place

that people with mental illnesses can
end up.

Two million people with mental illness

go to state and local jails
every year.

That's meant, there's now ten times
more people behind bars

than in state
funded psychiatric treatment.

That is terrible.

Finding out jails are our largest
provider of mental health treatment

is like finding out Lil Wayne lyrics

are our greatest source of sexual

"No, Darren. You can't 'smack it up
flip it like a spatula'.

Where did you even learn that ? What
does it mean ? Flip it like a spatula.

Would you like if I did that to
your mother ? No, you wouldn't.

You wouldn't Darren.

Look, look using the criminal justice
system to treat the mentally ill

isn't just ineffective it's expensive,
and it is dangerous.

Because often, when someone is having
a mental-health emergency,

the police will be called,
and that can end tragically.

By some estimates, an incredible half
of all incidents

involving the police use of deadly
force involve a mentally ill person.

But some police departments are
changing the way they do things,

even creating special
units like this one.

These officers are experts in what's
called crisis intervention training.

Would you say that you really
don't want to die ?

- But you want the pain to stop ?
- Yeah.

- Are you willing to get some help ?
- Yeah.

This woman agrees to get help.

We'll go in there together.

You'll ride with us.
We're in an unmarked car.

it's all part of a pioneering program

where the mentally ill are diverted
out of jails and into treatment.

Okay well, that seems really good,

but calling it a "pioneering program"
is a little heartbreaking.

Pioneering ideas should not be
completely obvious things

we should've been doing all along.

They should be outlandish things that
push the limits of the possible,

like a fitted sheet that's easy to
fold, or marshmallow airbags,

or a sex doll without
such judge'y eyes.

Don't look at me like that Linda.
I'm lonely and we both know it.

Unfortunately, only 15 percent of law
enforcement agencies

even have crisis intervention training
programs, let alone special units.

And taking that training
is typically voluntary.

And how can something so essential
to your job be voluntary ?

Take the mascot for
the Tampa Bay Rays.

We don't let him decide whether or
not to wear that costume.

Because without it, things
can get ugly fast.

It's important for doing
his job right.

And look that's just a tiny fix.

Our whole system needs a massive
overhaul, which won't be easy.

The public safety net for the mentally
ill spans Medicaid,

which is different across the country,

eight federal agencies who
administer 112 different programs

that in some way touch
on mental health

and the social service agencies in
each of the fifty states.

It is a clusterfuck.

Bu that's an insult to clusterfucks,
because at least in them,

there's the potential
of a satisfying ending.

This is more of a frustrating
cluster-dry-hump of some kind.

And that's not to say there
aren't programs that work.

Let's look at just one, "assertive
community treatment".

It's designed to let those with mental
illnesses live in the community,

by providing regular in-home visits,

and help coordinating assistance in
things like housing and employment.

Listen to one social worker
explain how it can work.

What makes mental health might just
not be a visit to your psychiatrist,

it might also mean having
your entitlements in place.

Or it might mean having
your rent paid on time.

So instead of meeting with a person
and talking about how they're doing,

how they feel, once a month
or twice a month,

what we do is everything

that it takes to keep people in the
community living independently.

That's fantastic.

"Everything it takes" sounds like a
much better option

than what we've apparently been
trying, which is "nothing",

"not anything," "very few things,"
"not much", and "prison".

But in many states assertive community
treatment programs are in jeopardy

thanks to everything from budget cuts
to Medicaid reimbursement problems,

despite the fact a study found these
programs pay for themselves.

Which is fantastic.

Government programs are like graduate
students on a first date

if they are able to pay for
themselves, it's a fucking miracle.

And look again that's
just one program.

There are many more, designed for
many different levels of need,

and as a society, we have to
figure out how to fund them.

Not just cause it makes fiscal sense,
but because it would save lives.

And there are some politicians

who claim to be pretty motivated to
address this problem.

This isn't guns.
This is about really mental illness.

In many of these shootings we have
people who have mental disturbances.

Do we need to do a better job in
mental health ? You bet we do.

Okay, fine.
Do it, then.

Because if we're going to constantly
use mentally ill people

to dodge
conversations about gun control,

then the very least we owe
them is a fucking plan.

And now this.

And now, newscasters stretching the
definition of the word "exclusive."

Kelly File exclusive.
Kim Davis will talk to us.

One day earlier

An ABC news exclusive, one
on one with Kim Davis.

Joining us live for an exclusive
morning interview.

9 hours earlier

Welcome Senator Rand Paul.

An exclusive interview
with Donald Trump on Morning Joe.

6 hours earlier

The polls have been amazing.
Just amazing.

8 hours earlier

Your wonderful show
that I love so much.

And 15 hours earlier

- We appreciate your time.
- Thank you very much.

Moving on.
Finally tonight social media.

That thing Cher almost understands how
to use. Almost.

This week, a new social-media
app got a lot of attention.

It's apparently like Yelp for people.

A new app called Peeple
with a double E,

allows you to rate and review every
person you know

using a one to five
star rating scale.

Friends ,coworkers, romantic
partners, even your exes.

Wait, that sounds absolutely awful.

Yes, there is apparently a new app
coming out

that's being labeled as
"Yelp for people."

And it's the kind of bullshit
mash-up that Silicon Valley loves.

Like "Snapchat for music," or "Skype
for sandwiches,"

"Tinder for geese,"
"Shazam for Kazaam,"

and "Uber drivers for scuba divers."

As you might expect an app that allows
people to rate you as a human being

without your consent has been
met with some concern.

But its creators frankly
do not understand why.

We want to clarify that this isn't,
this isn't like a judging website.

We don't want to, we don't want to
judge in a,

in a sense of, uh, being mean

or, you know, we want to actually,
like, bring the better out in people.

We want to be given the opportunity to
prove to you

that the world is
predominantly good.

Filled with people that absolutely
love you and want to lift you up.

I'm sorry have you ever
been on the internet ?

It's basically, the internet, let
me try and explain to you what it is.

The internet is basically a faucet

that dispenses hate, racism, and the
occasional sad orgasm.

And yet, the creators of this app

remain completely oblivious to its
lack of appeal.

Watch this video that
they themselves posted

of them pitching their app to
a cab driver.

We're building a Yelp for people

where you can actually go in our app
and rate

and comment on anybody you know

professionally, personally
or romantically.

What do you think ?

Wow, right ? That's a good reaction.

Wow is a, that's a start.

- That's a, that's a reaction.
- Yeah.

Oh, that is not a good reaction.

When you tell someone your idea,
you don't want them to respond

with the sound of the soul
leaving the body.

But wait, but wait it gets better.

As backlash to the app started
spread this week,

in what I'm sure
is a complete coincidence,

one of the app's
founders took to Facebook to ask,

"anyone know how to prevent people
from posting on the comments

of a company Facebook page ?"

That's right, the creator of an app

that would allow people to give each
other unsolicited criticism

wants to block unsolicited criticism.

She's opposed to the very
core of her own idea.

It's like if the CEO of Airbnb hated
sleeping on strangers' semen.

It would make no sense, that's
what his business is.

And that illustrates the main problem
here the internet essentially exists

so that people can say vicious
things about each other.

And we don't need another
app to facilitate that.

What we need is something which helps
stop people from getting hurt.

That is why we have launched a new,
actual website

called "scream into
the void dot com".

It gives you all the catharsis

of typing hateful things about people
into the internet,

with none of the human consequences.
I'll show you how it works.

The way it works is, you simply type
whatever awful thing you're thinking,

hit the button at the bottom of
the page,

and the message will be
deleted forever.

It's brilliant.
It's brilliant.

It feels good to get it out
and no one has to hear it.

I encourage you to use it.

And if you still somehow feel an
inexplicable desire

for an app that will judge you,

we'd like to introduce you to an
even less harmful alternative.

Nowadays there's an
app for everything.

There are apps to let people
rate restaurants, hotels,

and now because the world is a
ceaseless nightmare,

there are apps
that let people rate each other.

And look, no one wants to be
rated by random people,

you want to be rated by
someone you can trust.

That's why we're launching - Peeble.

The only app where you can be rated by
actor, director,

and producer, Mario
Van Peebles.

This sister is mysterious
I like it. Four stars.

Can you get hepatitis from
a picture ? One star.

And that's a five star cat
with a three star guy.

Getting started with Peeble is simple.
Download the app.

Upload a photo of yourself

and wait for Mario Van Peebles to
assign you a rating from 1 to 5 stars

based on his initial
impression of you.

I can tell that girl gets it.
Four stars.

Zero stars.

Is that Steve Buscemi ? I think
that's Steve Buscemi.

Peeble, it's like Yelp
for Mario Van Peebles.

Oh, that's a pug dressed as a pumpkin.

Four stars.

That is no dumber an idea than that
stupid "Peeple" app.

Thank you so much for watching the
show. Our thanks to Mario van Peebles.

We'll see you all next
week, good night !

Trying too hard. Two stars.

Nah, not trying hard enough. Two

She got a bad attitude.
Four stars.

Now this is a bastard right here.
Two stars.


Series II
End of episode 29