NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: John Oliver kicked off Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” with a bit of humor by joking about the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike before questioning whether the movies were still necessary.
The 46-year-old actor began by emphasizing that the 118-day strike had ended thanks to a tentative agreement reached between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
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“The SAG strike has finally ended, which means movies will be back in production,” Oliver said in the opening segment of his HBO show.
He then joked: “Although, to be honest, I’m not sure I even need movies anymore since this 17-minute video of what I can only describe as a Gatsby hamster living his best life came out .”
He then played a roughly one-minute clip of a video called “The Awesome Hamster Ball Pool Maze,” which Homura Ham Pets had posted on YouTube and which had been viewed 1.4 million times in the four months of diffusion.
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“It’s a complete masterpiece and it’s still 16 minutes long. I mean, Barbenheimer was fine,” Oliver said, referring to “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” released the same weekend.
“I liked it, but be honest, it’s just not as good as this,” he continued.
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John Oliver accuses studios of prolonging writers’ strike
In November, SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with the studios ending a 118-day strike. Under the new three-year deal, actors would be allowed to return to work and revitalize Hollywood to resume productions halted due to the strike.
“We got the protections we needed in AI. We secured the funds we needed for the new revenue stream. Those are the two biggest outstanding items,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said after the transaction.
John Oliver hopes IATSE and SAG-AFTRA get ‘fair contracts’
Earlier in October, when Oliver’s show returned to the air, he expressed his anger at the studios, accusing them of prolonging the writers’ strikes.
“The Writers Guild went on strike and fortunately won, but it took a lot of sacrifice on the part of a lot of people to get there,” he said.
“And while I’m happy they finally got a fair deal and immensely proud of what our union has accomplished, I’m also furious that it took the studios 148 days to reach an agreement they could have offer from day one.”
“But I hope it might encourage others, from auto workers to Starbucks baristas to health care providers, whether they are unionized or would like to be, to find power in each other. And within our particular industry,” the comedian said.
Oliver then expressed his hope that IATSE and SAG-AFTRA will be able to “take what the perpetrators have achieved and leverage it to win fair contracts for them too.”
“Because the truth is it takes a lot of very hard working people to make film and television, all of whom deserve a piece of the pie and for actors in particular, they can’t get back to work soon enough,” he added.
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