The host of Last Week Tonight opens up about a crucial inspiration while promoting season five of his show.
and Jimmy Kimmel
are at the forefront of late-night talk show television. But, for Oliver, Kimmel is more than rival for viewers. He's an inspiration.
John Oliver sat down with USA Today
and talked about he was inspired by a speech Jimmy Kimmel gave last May on his show about his son's heart condition
In the segment, Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional speech about his son's condition while also pleading for an improved healthcare system in the United States. The speech was met with an outpouring of support from people all over the world and acted as a turn for Kimmel, who hasn't shied away from political discussions since.
Oliver, on the other hand, is the definition of political. On his show, Last Week Tonight
, he goes into great detail about political and social problems the world faces. In June 2017, a month after Kimmel's passionate speech, Oliver, in turn, gave a short speech about his own son and tying it to his plea for the importance of vaccines.
His son, born prematurely after a difficult pregnancy, will be getting vaccinated on schedule. Oliver shares facts and fiction about vaccines but says when it comes down to it, they are important - important enough for him to let go of his own fears and vaccinate.
Oliver explained how Kimmel inspired him to get personal on his show:
"I very rarely do anything like that, because I'm emotionally very closed in, but I was so staggered by what Jimmy Kimmel had done, and I was so floored by how brave and how funny he was and how cathartic it was to me. My instinct in going through a very difficult period after that pregnancy was the British way: not to talk about it at all and to bury it and hope it all goes away. But it felt like such an incredibly generous thing to do (for Kimmel) to share that experience, it was really meaningful to me because it kind of made me feel like through the anxieties and stresses, that you're not going through that alone."
When considering whether to use his family as a point in his argument, Oliver said, "the Jimmy Kimmel thing really solidified it in my mind. And it was personally very helpful to me watching him suffer publicly. And it was funny."
Kimmel responded to his compliment saying, "He definitely has taught me many, many things I did not know about in an entertaining way, and I think that's very valuable. It's the same reason they make medicine for children flavored like bubble gum. Sometimes it still tastes like medicine, and in John Oliver's case, it tastes like bubble gum."
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
returns Sunday, February 18 on HBO for its fifth season. Are you excited?