John Oliver, current host of the award-winning satire news show Last Week Tonight on HBO, started his career as a talented comedian making the rounds of many of England’s laugh shacks and pubs. The standup comedian is a brilliant comedy writer, and it was that talent which landed him a job in the States as a writer for Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. While he won an Emmy for his witty satirical writing, it was his brief guest hosting stint of the show during the summer of 2013 that got him noticed by HBO – eventually leading to him hosting his own late-night show.
When the show takes a break from its weekly airing schedule, it still manages to give fans a small dose of satire via short YouTube videos – “Web Exclusives”. The videos are usually relevant to any topic currently trending in mainstream pop culture, ranging from Conspiracies to Regifting to Cicadas – all of them are peppered with his brand of satirical humor. In his latest video, Oliver laments about the current theatrical invasion of superhero movies, ripping on this year’s crop of releases, “Mean Spider-Man”, “Sad Man vs Super Sad Man” and “Insane Clown Posse Takes Manhattan”.
It’s interesting to note that Oliver doesn’t mention Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse or the upcoming Marvel Studios release, Doctor Strange. Perhaps he’s a fan of those particular franchises? Regardless, Oliver’s problem with superhero movies isn’t with the sub-genre itself, but rather, the type of superhero Hollywood has been quick to adapt. To that end, he does more than just complain about the problem, he offers a solution to it in the form of his own superhero, Johnny Strong – a character he created while he was in the fifth grade.
Setting aside Oliver’s comment about the stereotypical person who discusses the pros and cons of superhero movies (“I want to feel the touch of another human, at least once before I die.”), he goes on to suggest that Johnny Strong, a.k.a. John Olivier (no relation), could be exactly what Hollywood needs to change up the same ol’ characters audiences are growing tired of seeing on the big screen. Truth be told, the combined worldwide box office totals of the five superhero movies released so far in 2016 is almost $4 billion, and with Doctor Strange still to come, that number is sure to be even higher. So it would seem, that while people often pose the question “Are audiences growing weary of superhero movies?”, the answer to that would be a resounding “No.”
That’s not to say Oliver’s Johnny Strong character doesn’t have some merit or the possibility of landing in Hollywood. Done properly and imbued with Oliver’s style of humor, Johnny Strong could make an excellent addition to any network’s adult-oriented animation lineup. It wouldn’t be the first time an idea such as his was adapted for the animated medium. The late-John Candy, Howie Mandel, Louie Anderson and Daniel Tosh, all had their own animated series inspired by characters they created. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see Oliver’s characters come to life in such a manner.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11PM EST on HBO.
Source: John Oliver