FT Lunches With America’s Satirist-in-Chief

The result: many more reasons to love John Oliver.

FTJohnOliverWhen Financial Times global media editor Matthew Garrahan recently arrived at the restaurant Blue Ribbon on West 58th Street with John Oliver, the pair encountered more proof of the HBO host’s far-reaching likability. This incident really speaks volumes:

As Oliver enters the restaurant, which is on the ground floor of a hotel, Oliver is ambushed by two guests. It turns out they are pharmaceutical reps who caught a scathing segment he did on his show in February about the lengths to which the prescription drug industry goes to market its wares to doctors. But rather than yell at him or threaten to beat him up, all they want is a selfie.

Along with Jon Stewart essentially going – ‘Hey, that HBO deal looks like fun!’ – this is a reminder of how intelligence, humor and the full support of a hard-working research staff can warm the hearts of even pharmaceutical reps(!)

Garrahan covers all the bases, from the heckles that most often rained down on Oliver during the latter’s stand-up comedy days, to Oliver’s childhood, to what the 38-year-old Brit readily describes as professional failure in the U.K., to the reporter and subject’s shared affinity for the Liverpool Football Club.

Also, ahead of Chelsea Handler’s Netflix arrival, Oliver told Garrahan there is no reasonable defense for the lack of women in the late night TV talk game. Read the full piece here. And below is the aforementioned Last Week piece from February, which includes the classic Oliver punchline: “One analysis suggests that in 2013, nine out of the top ten drug makers spent more on marketing than they did on research. Drug companies are a bit like high school boyfriends; they’re much more concerned with getting inside you than being effective once they’re in there.”

[FT illustration, used with permission: Sam Kerr]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.