Daily Show - John Oliver Qatar segment - uncomfortable?

Was wondering if anyone else felt the slightest bit uncomfortable about the bit on the Daily Show a couple of days back, when John Oliver interviewed the Qatar ambassador.
I guess on the one hand anyone appearing on the show should figure out in advance what they are in for. And usually they target folks who are at least a little bit goofy. But I’d never heard anything said against Qatar before, and thought it a little off to screw with an ostensibly well-intentioned official representative like that.
As far as I can remember, that’s about the first time I really felt uncomfortable with one of TDS’s interviews.

Agreed. The guy from Qatar had not a drop of a sense of humor and clearly had no idea what was going on. So, it just felt like kicking a puppy.

I do think he pushed beyond comedy to assholery.

Yeah, I often feel that way during John Oliver interviews. I love his “senior analyst reports”, but his interviews make me squirm, and not with laughter.

Although I did laugh out loud later in the interview when the ambassador mispronounced the name of his country “Kah-tar”, and JO corrected him. :o

I guess maybe it was a bit squirm-inducing because the ambassador didn’t come off as an asshole. Clueless and humorless, perhaps, but not an asshole. On the other hand, if Oliver had been inteviewing an obvious jerk, I doubt anyone would be bothered.

I felt a little bad for the guy but I still thought it was hilarious.

For me there was also a bit of thinking that so many aspects of American culture and policy seem aimed at pissing off/disrespecting Arabs. Kinda bothered me that a show I enjoy would contribute along the same lines. Yes, I know it is just a show. But I would think they could have been clever in some way that didn’t just come across as jerky. Couldn’t they sort of let the guy in on the joke, instead of simply making him the joke?

That was the kind of thing I would have expected from Howard Stern’s Stuttering Bob, or some other “shock jock” - which I consider several steps beneath TDS in many respects including intelligence and humor.

The Jewish boat was going too far–or I was too uncomfortable by then. But I loved the Jimmy Dean’s shit on a stick bit and I loved Oliver’s correction of the ambassador. Sometimes humor doesn’t translate, especially in diplomatic circles. I hope the ambassdor was let in on the joke, eventually. Otherwise, we may have cemented USA=asshole for a long time to come.

I wonder when watching these type interviews how much heavy editing goes into them and what questions are really asked vs. what you see get asked and what reaction shots corelate to the questions.
Seems to be a bit pieced together in the name of comedy much like a those Jay Leno type interviews or those Coors Light-NFL Coach ads.

I was a little uncomfortable but I’m getting tried of the Jimmy Dean Pancake/sausage on a stick jokes.

Yea - don’t knock 'em til you try 'em. The one with the chocolate chips in the pancakes? MMMMMM-Goooooood!


It seemed very Ali-G to me. While imitation is the sincerest blahblahblah, he should stick with his own shtick.

I liked it. But I may be biased because John Oliver is my favorite DS correspondent of all time.

You’ve got a point there, Liberal. If Samantha Bee had done it, I’d probably have been less sanguine about the piece. But Oliver’s my all time favorite, too.

I thought it was fucking hilarious - best segment I’ve seen on TDS in quite a while.

See, and I think the delivery matters. Rob Corddry (however the fuck it’s spelled) could have pulled it off to my satisfaction, 'cause he has that over the top raised eyebrow Eddie Izzard nod/shake/nod/shake/nod energy working for him. Oliver’s deadpanness works against him in interviews for me, 'cause he comes off as mean. Corddry lets people in on the joke just enough to make me feel like he’s not mean, but without ruining the joke.

OTOH, for “reports”, I prefer Oliver to Corddry 'cause Cordrry’s “wacky” thing gets irritating. The toilet thing the other night just took too fucking long. The joke was made in 15 seconds, and it was like a Saturday Night Live sketch that wouldn’t die.

Samantha Bee? Sometimes she hits her mark, sometimes she’s a creepy female sexual harasser.

That’s one of the things I like about the Colbert Report. When he interviews congressmen and such, it seems like they make an effort to show the context things were said in, and if they get the person to say something embarassing they make it clear how Colbert goaded them into it.

Funny thing, actually, is that interview editing in the Colbert report is more honest than actual news interviews. He interviewed a guy who was running unopposed (Wexler?) and said “since you can’t lose the election, let’s say some fun things that would otherwise make you lose the election” and he jokingly admitted to doing cocaine. The Colbert Report made it totally clear that that’s what happened and didn’t edit it - but some actual news media outlets quoted it out of context as if the guy said it seriously.

It’s pretty sad when a comedy show deliberately manipulating the interview for comedic purposes has more integrity than actual news outlets.

I’m completely amazed that a public official (like the UN ambassador for Qatar) would agree to an interview without knowing who was interviewing him; if you agree to an interview with a satirical program, you should expect some outrageous questioning.

I thought John Oliver’s interview was typical of what TDS offers (I love the show, but the interviews are my least favorite part).

Very much so. Still funny.
I think John Oliver’s schtick is going to be intentionally cringe-inducing.
It works.