After a three-week hiatus, HBO’s Last Week Tonight returned with… nothing to talk about. Everything’s hunky dory as is. If only. Actually, last night’s episode was centered around coronavirus conspiracy theories, “particularly why they’re so appealing, how to spot them, and what you might be able to do about it,” host John Oliver explained.
After acknowledging that conspiracy theories are popular because “they help explain a chaotic, uncertain world and appeal to the human impulse to what’s called proportionality bias,” Oliver noted that when confronted with someone genuinely believes that, say, chemicals are making frogs gay, you shouldn’t try to make fun of them for believing something so incredibly stupid, as tempting as it is. Rather, he said, “What experts say is that the most effective way to approach someone is not by shaming them for believing something, or overwhelming them with counter-evidence, but to try and be empathetic, meet them where they are, and nudge them to think a bit more critically.”
Or, y’know, get famous people to educate your conspiracy theorist family members. For your wrestling-loving aunt, there’s John Cena. For your game show-obsessed uncle, there’s Alex Trebek. For your fashion-obsessed cousin, there’s Billy Porter. And for everyone, there’s Catherine O’Hara and Paul Rudd. If those two can’t get through to these people, no one can. To find the clips, which “gently [urge] anyone who watches it to be careful with what they encounter and share online,” head to The True True Truth.