Late Night Last Week: John Oliver Rips Apart Project 2025

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Late Night Last Week: John Oliver Rips Apart Project 2025

Late Night Last Week is a column highlighting some of the more notable segments from the previous week of late night television. Today’s installment features a monologue from John Oliver that made the rounds on social media, despite all late night hosts taking a vacation last week.

Last week, 14 years of Tory rule in the United Kingdom came to an end. On Sunday, across the channel in France, the left-wing New Popular Front fended off an insurgency from the far-right National Rally party. In the United States, late night hosts were on vacation. But that did not stop one of them from heavily influencing the somehow ever-more-fraught political discourse. And it certainly won’t stop me from writing this column. 

As fireworks filled the air and cable news pundits debated the merits of the presidential race, a monologue from one man made the rounds on social media to remind us just how absolutely screwed we may soon be. Back in June, John Oliver, before he selfishly left us for rest and relaxation, delivered a monologue on Project 2025, the right-wing plan for a second Trump Administration. And because who needs air dates any more, the clip from Last Week Tonight made the rounds on social media last week, in part because Trump himself is doing the whole “We’re All Trying To Find The Guy Who Did This” routine as the plan gets deservedly bad press. 

The upshot of Project 2025 is that it is as scary as it is boring. Oliver understands this. That is why throughout his diatribe, he rewards his audience with clips from MILF Manor. It is no wonder millions revisited this monologue to mark the Fourth of July. 

Oliver focuses on two major concerns. First is the removal of civil service protections for federal employees. Basically, if you are a non-political appointee in the government, you cannot be fired by an incoming administration for not adhering to their beliefs because, you know, we want competency not partisan hackery, as Jon Stewart might say. Under this plan, that would change. Trump could then dismantle the government and fill it with loyalists. 

Second is the power of “impoundment” (yes, Oliver has fun with this word). Proponents of Project 2025 support the reimplementation of this power, which would essentially allow the president to halt the spending of funds allocated by Congress. Obviously, this would be bad for the “checks and balances” part of the US government. But to be fair, Oliver recorded this monologue before the Supreme Court more or less made the president a king

Oliver’s monologue is not only the most entertaining way to understand the threat of Project 2025, but also the most satisfying. He gets to the heart of the plan while exposing the people behind it, who are as worthy of ridicule as they are contempt. Just wait until you see one dude’s TikToks. 

You can watch the full segment below, or the full episode on Max, which ends with Oliver eating the ass of a cake bear. 10/10 would recommend.


Will DiGravio is a Brooklyn-based critic and researcher, who first contributed to Paste in 2022. He is an assistant editor at Cineaste, a GALECA member, and since 2019 has hosted The Video Essay Podcast. You can follow and/or unfollow him on Twitter and learn more about him via his website.

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