The 20 Minutes After Watching John Oliver Where You Lie to Yourself About Doing Something


“Goodnight everybody,” the voice from the TV yells. “We’ll see you next week!” As the credits begin to roll and the bloopers from the show are played, you get up from your couch to toss the rest of your dinner in the trash before grabbing a bag of chips and heading back to watch more TV. You find that comfy spot in the couch you know so well and begin to think more about the program you just finished, Last Week Tonight. Over the course of the next twenty minutes, you will lie to yourself about doing something and by the time you head for bed, you won’t even remember what you were so upset about. What exactly are you lying to yourself about? Let’s dissect.


In order to show you that we are using the plural you and not the personal you, we will turn this into a hypothetical situation. While you may see some resemblance to your life within this lines, it is not a trick of the eye or a turn of wit, it is merely an illusion and should be treated as such.


The episode you just finished was about the dire circumstances we find ourselves in as climate change continues to wreak havoc on our planet. In his typical fashion, Oliver is able to present this information in a way that is both comical and serious, dire and optimistic. You start to think of ways that you can donate your time and resources to helping this cause and wonder how much you on an individual level can really do. You already begin to forget the clear, actionable steps laid out in the episode as you begin Googling ways to cut down your plastic use.


5-10 minutes later, you find yourself on YouTube watching John Mulaney, Pete Davidson, and Jimmy Fallon try to lie to each other about which of them took a poison pill the previous evening. Suddenly, you remember what you were doing and quickly type in into your search bar. Unfortunately, this backfires as well and you end up finding yourself another 5-10 minutes later on the Wikipedia page for worm. Completely frazzle, you decide you need something to put on TV, so you quickly scroll through HBO, find a rom-com, put it on, and let your cares fall away.


In those twenty minutes, you lied to yourself and truly believed you were going to start making changes for the better. Yes, this was a lie, because the entire time, deep down, you knew you weren’t going to do it. All we are asking is, what if it wasn’t a lie? What if you actually became that person?


It won’t be a fast process and it will take work, yes actual work, but in the end, won’t you feel better? I don’t know, maybe I’m just riding the high of watching John Oliver 10 minutes ago, but I think I just solved everything. Let’s bounce.






This was written by Nathan Ellwood, who honestly thinks you should just watch Desus & Mero instead. Follow him @NPEllwood.


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