On Sunday's episode of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," host John Oliver scored a coveted interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden in Russia.
To get a sense of how big this is, consider that the producers skipped last week's episode in order to make the interview possible, and that Sunday's installment ran 15 minutes over its 30-minute time slot so that the interview could be contextualized and aired in full. (Oliver also became the first person to nab a televised interview with Snowden since Brian Williams did last May.)
So why all the trouble? In theory, Snowden's revelations are old, they have proven to be either inaccessible or not titillating enough for the American public, and Oliver already covered the issue himself on the show in an interview with former NSA chief General Keith Alexander less than a year ago.
As it turns out, Oliver wasn't satisfied. Using the June 1 expiration of controversial sections of the Patriot Act as a peg, Oliver decided to revive the conversation anew by highlighting one specific aspect of the surveillance issue that a majority of Americans could relate to.
And Sunday's final product is earning Oliver plaudits across the Internet. In the interview, Oliver accomplishes several feats. He's not only funny (Snowden apparently misses eating Hot Pockets, the sodium vehicle of the American freezer section), but also incisive and tough.