John Oliver opens 'Last Week Tonight' with Alex Jones defamation trial segment

John Oliver, comedian and host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” opened his Aug. 7 show with a segment on the Alex Jones defamation trial

“Last Week Tonight” is a 30-minute comedy series that “takes a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events.” Oliver opened his Sunday show discussing recent news in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ defamation trial. Jones was on trial over what Oliver described as “disgusting claims” about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting he made on his show, Infowars.

Oliver began by discussing Jones’ courtroom behavior, saying, “The way he handled this trial is almost a MasterClass of what not to do in court, starting with the fact he lied so many times the exasperated judge had to say this,” followed by a video of the judge in the trial saying to Jones, “It seems absurd to instruct you again you must tell the truth while you testify, yet here I am. You must tell the truth while you testify. This is not your show.”

Jones had been rebuked by the judge before for continuing to push his conspiracy theories in and out of the courtroom. Oliver also showed viewers some of the Infowars imagery that Jones had published during the trial, including a photo of the judge from the trial engulfed in flames. "Last Week Tonight" also played other footage of Jones’ courtroom behavior, including a segment in which Jones asked the judge to look inside of his mouth when she asked Jones if he was chewing gum. 

In addition, Oliver talked about the blunder that Jones’ attorneys made when they mistakenly sent two years worth of Jones’ text messages to the Sandy Hook family lawyers. Despite Jones asking the judge for a mistrial as a result of the leaked text messages, that request was denied, and a jury decided that the Infowars owner needed to pay $4 million in compensatory damages and over $45 million in punitive damages. Oliver reminded viewers that this is just the beginning of Jones’ defamation trials, with two more coming up, and said he is sure Jones will find a way to make a “clown show” out of those proceedings as well.

To finish the Jones segment, Oliver ended with a satirical mention of how the turned over text messages were bound to make a big impact on Jones’ life for the foreseeable future. 

“This phone thing could make his life much more difficult and for a while, and that is something that we should all be allowed to enjoy,” Oliver said. “Because to wake up one morning and find out that Alex Jones’ lawyers mistakenly shared his cell phone records is a true blessing. We don't deserve this, but one thing's for sure— he definitely does.”