There may not be much left to mine when it comes to Shark Week (just look at Discovery's 2021 schedule) but John Oliver has found a new way to draw attention to the ocean's magnificent creatures. Last night, Last Week Tonight released a digital exclusive about octopuses — and yes, that's the correct plural form. "Octopi" and "octopodes" be damned!
Oliver typically spends his monologues talking about global inequality or political hypocrisy, but last night, the Last Week Tonight host devoted his time to octopuses. "Not 'octopi,' because that's a Latin plural suffix, and the word 'octopus' is derived from Greek," he explained. "The Greek plural would be 'octopodes,' but that's still not technically correct because words adopted into English take an English plural suffix, which is how we get to 'octopuses.' There, now you know how to end a Tinder date in 10 seconds."
Of course, there are plenty of fascinating creatures in the ocean — "a big, wet trash bin full of God's weirdest typos," — but most intriguing to Oliver is the humble octopus, "the subject of, among other things, a terrible Beatles song, and this year's Oscar winner My Octopus Teacher." Oliver dragged the filmmakers for not thanking the octopus in their acceptance speech, a slight he sees as "concrete proof that octopuses aren't getting nearly the credit they deserve."
"All I've been trying to say in this piece, and in a way, my entire life, is that octopuses are cool," he concluded. "Cats have dominated the internet for far too long, and it is past time that octopuses get their turn. That's it, that's my whole argument here."
Last Week Tonight returns from hiatus on Sunday, July 25.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.