John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight often tackles some of the most important, pressing, and, at times, undercovered news stories, threading the needle of being incredibly informative while also still being, nominally, a comedy program. Sometimes that comedy comes in little non-sequiturs, as they will just find something that makes them laugh and give it 90 seconds between segments.
On Sunday night, one of those was a delightful look at ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and his love of the dramatic pause while doing radio, running a supercut of Smith sitting in silence to build suspense for his takes — sometimes with a hilarious payoff at the end. Smith appreciated the show’s dive into his showmanship, clearly enjoying the appreciation for his artistry.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 27, 2021
The “Melo’s gone!” one is particularly good, and the end as they cut from outfit to outfit, including his favorite cowboy hat and cigar combo for a post Dallas loss show, is sensational. Smith really is a master of the art of giving takes and making it into a show. All of it is purposeful, as he uses the pauses and changing his cadence and volume to try and literally draw listeners to their speakers and command their attention by shifting gears and volumes. Whether the comedic element is purposeful or not is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that when run all together they are extremely funny.