8:56am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
John Oliver Takes on NRA TV: "A Vessel to Sell America Guns"
John Oliver devoted an extended segment on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight to the NRA and its streaming network, NRA TV.
He introduced the segment by describing the group as an organization that “feels about guns the same way the rest of us feel about Nutella."
Following the Parkland, Florida school shooting, many prominent companies have cut ties with the NRA. While well known companies like Delta, Avis and Hertz have all agreed to stop providing discounts to members of the NRA, tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Roku still continue to stream NRA TV. “So that is an uncomfortable situation for Apple and Amazon, but it’s a fucking miracle Roku,” said Oliver. The host then impersonated an employee from the lesser-known streaming player. “’Harry! Get in here! Someone just called us a big tech company!'” he cheered.
With all the talk of boycotting the NRA, Oliver also addressed what exactly NRA TV is for those who may have been confused by news of the channel.
After showing clips that feature spokeswoman Dana Loesch and country singer Charlie Daniels, Oliver concluded that the channel’s motive is “trolling your attention.”
Oliver also shared that NRA TV airs news programming, though “there’s honestly not really much point in us showing you any of that because it’s essentially just Fox News on a much lower budget.”
In addition to shows like Media Lab, in which a former military man reenacts scenes from movies that tend to include robberies, NRA TV also features content directed at women. “The NRA’s actually making a big push for women, and they are pretty clear about their motivations,” Oliver said before showing clips from Love at First Shot. “You can kind of understand why Love At First Shot functions as a kind of QVC for firearms, showcasing products like mag loaders, targets, gun cases and handbags,” said the host. After showing a clip of a woman buying a bag with a pocket designed to carry a gun, Oliver retorted, “Girl, you don’t even need a gun because people are going to die when they see that bag.”
Oliver assured his audience that NRA TV also tackles much deeper issues. The host shared a clip that features beautiful nature shots accompanied by a dark voiceover that includes lines like “Death is an undeniable fuel of life.” Oliver concluded, “That is less Planet Earth and more deranged letter from a serial killer.”
The host believes that NRA TV shows “a bleak vision of America with threats around every single corner and one solution.” After showing some infomercial-like content, Oliver summarized, “Do you have ISIS sympathizers in those hard-to-reach places? Are you tired of getting 9/11-ed? There’s got to be a better way.” He sarcastically concluded, “Try the AR-15. Available at way too many stores near you.”
So what exactly is NRA TV? “It’s just a vessel to sell America guns,” explained Oliver. As someone that has spent hours watching NRA TV programming, the host is not convinced that the network is accomplishing its goal of selling guns. “If the NRA is a ferocious bear charging at you, NRA TV is that bear’s ridiculous hat,” he said. While Oliver agreed that the programming is entertaining, he doesn’t think there’s much to worry about. He concluded, “The real truth here is, hat or no hat, it is imperative that everyone keep their eyes on that fucking bear.”