George R.R. Martin and Tap Dancing Steve Buscemi Help John Oliver Tear Apart Dr. Oz (Video)

HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” goes way deep on medical fraud

Last Updated: July 16, 2014 @ 4:32 PM

One nice thing about having a weekly news show is that your programming is not dictated by the inanities of the daily news cycle, and can instead go deep on subjects that are both timely and not given the required context by the mainstream media.

One of the benefits of being on premium cable, meanwhile, is the ability to write a 16-minute segment without ever worrying about having to cut to commercial in the middle of it.

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Additionally, a big plus about being on HBO is having access to big stars like “Boardwalk Empire” gangster Steve Buscemi and “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin.

John Oliver has made use of all those advantages in the eight episode run of his weekly program, “Last Week Tonight,” which was dominated on Sunday night by a long examination of the very unregulated nutritional supplement industry and its new television champion, Dr. Oz.

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The cardiac surgeon and TV host was dragged in front of Congress last week, in order to answer questions about his show’s frequent endorsement of unchecked and unproven medical supplements, which often offer the hope of weight loss without the science or track record to back those promises. With the help of Buscemi, Martin, some expert archival work, Oliver broke down complicated political and legal matters for the uninitiated viewer, most of whom probably have a cabinet filled with weird vitamins that they never really take.