To say that Last Week Tonight is one of the smartest shows on television is to essentially repeat a known truth at this point. John Oliver and his HBO team have been so consistently insightful and hilarious that we’ve all come to their product as a form of televised comedic genius on par with Colbert and Stewart. So it’s with excitement that we greet his take on transgender issues, especially after the gay community’s triumph with the recent supreme court ruling on gay marriage. While our understanding and acceptance of that community continues to rise, Oliver points out that our perception of transgender Americans—a population that numbers around 700,000—continues to lag behind.
Like much of Oliver’s criticism, this doubles as an attack on the media and the callous way they portray transgender people, including the inappropriate questions about their genitalia that occur with surprising frequency. He also points out our society’s strange tendency to simultaneously praise the “courage” of transgender people while depriving them of basic rights.
Check out the video above, where Oliver proves yet again that he’s one of the most astute minds on television.