After a bit about wacko GOP candidates who believe in the “Big Lie” — and far nuttier matters — the bulk of Sunday’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver concerned rapidly escalating rent in America, as well as other barriers to affordable housing. It’s a scary topic for the third of the nation that rents rather than owns, especially considering, as he pointed out, the median rent last month passed $2,000, up 15%. But he started things on a lighter note: making fun of Dakota Johnson’s just-for-show limes.
Oliver brought up a particular kind of celebrity video: the ones where famous people invite camera crews into their lavish homes, where viewers watch them “discover things that were clearly put there by stylists and occasionally call it out in a glorious passive-aggressive way.” One of them was the Cha Cha Real Smooth star and random wedding crasher, who, while showing off her kitchen, made sure to dwell on multiple piles of limes stacked on the counter in a most curious fashion.
“I love cooking. I cook a lot. And I bake a lot,” she says. Then she gestures to a bowl of limes sitting on a plate, also containing limes. “I love limes. I love them. They’re great. I love them so much and I love to present them like this.”
“She is so magnificently weird,” Oliver says, then brings up an interesting factoid: Johnson is actually allergic to limes. She herself addressed her fib in a subsequent interview. “It was hard to ignore them, so I just lied,” she said.
But that made Oliver even more skeptical. “She’s probably lying about that as well,” he cracked. “She’s pure chaos, she should be president.”
From there, Oliver delved deep into America’s housing crisis, dwelling on greedy landlords and assistance programs delivered more by profit than the need to help people.
“That is the core issue with rental housing in this country, though: People who think that investments deserve more respect than basic human needs, and then set up a system designed to ensure that some people just spiral downwards,” Oliver said. He then laid out the nation’s impossible system:
“They can’t move somewhere cheaper if nowhere cheaper exists; they can’t apply for federal assistance if there’s nowhere near enough; they can’t even use that assistance if no-one accepts it; and they can’t take their landlord to court if the court system is skewed against them; and they can’t depend on rental housing ever again if they’re evicted even just once. It’s a complete s*itshow.”
You can watch the segment in the video above.