On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver presents a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events.
Type: Talk Show
Runtime: 30 minutes
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Donald Trump (Last Week Tonight) - Netflix
“Donald Trump” is a segment of the HBO news satire television series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that is devoted to Donald Trump, who later became the President of the United States. It first aired on February 28, 2016, as part of the third episode of Last Week Tonight's third season, when Trump was the frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination for the presidency. During the 22-minute segment, comedian John Oliver discusses Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and his career in business. Oliver outlines Trump's campaign rhetoric, varying political positions, and failed business ventures. The comedian also criticizes Trump for making bigoted and untrue statements, and says that the Trump family name was changed at one point from the ancestral name “Drumpf”. The segment went viral on YouTube and Facebook. By Super Tuesday on March 1, two days after broadcast, Google searches for “Donald Drumpf” had surpassed those for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who were then competing against Trump for the Republican Party nomination. In eight days, the segment accumulated 19 million views on YouTube, making it Last Week Tonight's most popular segment there. By the end of March, it had received a combined 85 million views on YouTube and Facebook. The segment popularized the term “Donald Drumpf”, a name for Trump that Oliver uses toward the end of the segment. Oliver intended the term to uncouple the grandeur of the Trump name so the latter's supporters could acknowledge his political and entrepreneurial flaws. The comedian promoted a campaign urging viewers to “Make Donald Drumpf Again”, a play on Trump's “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. Oliver coined a hashtag and registered a web domain to promote the term; the website offered a Google Chrome extension to change instances of “Trump” to “Drumpf” and sold baseball caps with the slogan “Make Donald Drumpf Again”. The segment started a public debate on when the Trump family renamed themselves from “Drumpf”. Commentators debated whether the family changed their name in the 17th or 19th century but agreed that neither Donald Trump nor his father Fred ever carried the surname “Drumpf”. Reviews of the segment itself were mixed: some praised the segment for being funny and informational, but others criticized Oliver for the possible xenophobic undertones attached to the “Drumpf” surname. Oliver stopped using the name “Drumpf” in subsequent segments, stating that the joke “went out of hand”.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Reception and aftermath - Netflix
Immediately after the segment aired, web searches for “Donald Drumpf” went viral. By March 1, the date on which the “Super Tuesday” primaries were held, Google Searches for “Donald Drumpf” had surpassed those for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, two of Trump's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. Other media also started reporting on Trump's “short fingers” shortly after the episode's broadcast, prompting Trump to write a Twitter post on March 1 in which he stated that he was not aware of any mockery of his “short fingers”. By March 4, six days after the segment's air date, the “Drumpfinator” Chrome extension had received over 333,800 downloads and 5,800 reviews. The Drumpfinator and similar extensions resulted in multiple outlets accidentally replacing Trump's name. The American Jewish Congress announced the results of a poll of their members that referred to the candidate as “Donald Drumpf”, which they later acknowledged was an accident caused by someone's use of the extension. Wired magazine published multiple articles replacing Trump's name with the phrase “Someone with Tiny Hands” in reference to the “Short-Fingered Vulgarian” meme, a result of another Chrome extension.
Reviewing the segment, Daniel Victor of The New York Times said “Donald Drumpf” was “a funny label”, but stated that the Trump family had changed its name in the 17th century, so the surname change could not be attributed to the presidential candidate. He also pointed out that many American entertainers and politicians, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford and rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, had changed their names. CNET's Chris Matyszczyk called the segment a “lengthy excoriation” of Trump and commented that Oliver's intents extended past “mere satire”, influencing Americans to care enough to vote against Trump. After the segment, a Twitterbot named “DeepDrumpf” was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Named after the Last Week Tonight segment, the bot uses neural network technology to post tweets in an imitation of Trump. The bot's creator stated that DeepDrumpf collects fragments of Trump's statements, noting their grammatical structure using artificial intelligence (AI), and outputs the resulting sentences based on what it learned about Trump's grammar style. He also said that if there were more data available, or even all the data that Facebook's AI system can analyze, then the neural network would be better able to mimic Trump. Within eight days of the original broadcast, the YouTube video of the segment surpassed 19 million views, making it Oliver's most watched segment. By comparison, the previous episode's main segment had a little over four million views on YouTube by that date. By the end of March, the segment had been viewed 23.3 million times on YouTube and 62 million times on Facebook, for a total of 85 million times on the two social media platforms, making its viewership “a record for any piece of HBO content”. By March 8, ten days after the episode's broadcast, the donaldjdrumpf.com website had sold over 35,000 “Make Donald Drumpf Again” hats, comprising all of the inventory on hand. The Chrome extension had also been downloaded 433,000 times. (In November, shortly after Trump's election, Drumpf-cap manufacturer Unionwear filed for bankruptcy, though this had nothing to do directly with the manufacturing of these specific hats.) Freelance journalist S. I. Rosenbaum, writing for the Washington Post, criticized Oliver's “Donald Drumpf” appellation as derisive of German Americans and other immigrant groups who anglicized their names upon immigration. Rosenbaum wrote that the phrase was reminiscent of Trump's own xenophobic statements in that it was part of a long-running trend of “bestowing foreign-sounding names to imply that the target isn't really an American”. Oliver later said that the joke “got out of hand” and never used it on the show again. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he said, “That joke became old for us very quickly. There's a reason we didn't use it again. It really is the song I skip past. It's 'Creep.' It's a good song, Thom Yorke! It was a good song when he wrote it.” Alluding to the fact that the segment aired on the same night as the Oscars, the comedian also stated, “We were not doing [the episode] with the sense that it would become bigger than our show normally is,” but the “Drumpf” appellation's later popularity “kind of slightly ruins the memory”.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - References - Netflix