John Oliver

John Oliver hilariously rants on Liverpool title paused by coronavirus

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AP

John Oliver hilariously rants on Liverpool title paused by coronavirus

Liverpool halted the march to its first-ever Premier League title last week, and for good reason.

The league suspended play through April 4 after Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus. The British government recommended Monday that citizens commit to social distancing and avoid large crowds "for some weeks," leaving the Reds' eventual coronation up in the air.

John Oliver, a diehard Liverpool fan and host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," focused entirely on the latest surrounding the coronavirus in Sunday's episode. That is, save for the 30 seconds (and change) he allowed himself and his viewers to voice disappointment with something that the virus' spread has put on hold. Oliver, naturally, chose the Reds.

"Here's the thing: I've waited my entire adult life for this! They were about to win the title for the first time in 30 years. They were 25 points ahead of Man City! Twenty-five points! That's a historic margin, and you're telling me it could be for nothing?

"Mo Salah deserves to be a Premier League champion. Jurgen Klopp deserves this, and I know he's pointed out in a beautiful essay that you should look up that we should not worry about the league right now, we should keep things in perspective. But the very fact that he wrote something like that just makes me want him to win the title even more! I want to see the trophy go through the [Bill Shankly gates at Anfield]!"

A buzzer interrupted Oliver's opining, but the comedian paused a bit after saying it was "out of his system" and hilariously kept going.

"It just feels like they should really give Liverpool the league title because they've basically already won it," Oliver quipped. "That actually would be fair!"

Oliver noted that "[it's] not like anyone's gonna catch up from a 25-point deficit, anyway" after the buzzer's second intereuption but his production team wouldn't let him get another word on Liverpool in edgewise by buzzing in a third time.

"OK, ok!" Oliver said. "You're right! You are right! Sports are not important right now. They're not important right now. I mean, they're not really important ever, but they're especially not important now."

The Premier League is one of many leagues around the world -- soccer and otherwise -- postponing their seasons in order to halt the coronavirus' spread. Liverpool fans have waited three decades since their last top-flight title. If the Premier League ultimately resumes its season, what're another few weeks or months with public health in mind?

Why John Oliver name-dropped Warriors' Marquese Chriss in NBA-China monologue

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USATSI

Why John Oliver name-dropped Warriors' Marquese Chriss in NBA-China monologue

Warriors big man Marquese Chriss has been the talk of training camp, but he apparently caught the eye of comedian John Oliver -- or his writers room -- long before that. 

On Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight" on HBO, Oliver recapped China's backlash against the NBA following Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's since-deleted tweet in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Oliver called China's uproar over Morey's tweet "absurd," before facetiously criticizing Morey for letting Chriss go in a trade last season. 

"You wanna be angry at him, how about the fact he traded away power forward Marquese Chriss as part of a three-team deal with the Kings and Cavaliers back in February?" Oliver joked. "Chriss is [6-foot-10] with a 7-foot wingspan, plays way above the rim and can mix it up in the post. Yes, granted, he's had his issues on the Suns -- I'm not denying that. But he's the exact type of athletic big man that could have balanced out [Russell Westbrook and James Harden] especially when he's coming off the bench for P.J. Tucker.

"What I'm saying, Daryl, is your tweet about Hong Kong was totally fine -- nothing to apologize for there -- but when it comes to Marquese Chriss, you f----d up, Daryl!"

Oliver then quipped he wasn't "even a Rockets fan," but one of "competent midseason roster moves."

The Warriors signed Chriss to a non-guaranteed contract in September. The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has impressed his Golden State teammates and coaches, providing the Warriors size up front and rebounding -- two things they've lacked in the preseason with much of their frontcourt banged up. 

During the segment, Oliver criticized the NBA for its handling of the aftermath of Morey's tweet, which Morey walked back and the league apologized for. Following the league's apology, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that Morey "enjoys that right [to freedom of speech] as one of our employees." Chinese state broadcaster CCTV did not show a pair of the league's preseason games played in China last week. 

[RELATED: What we learned in Dubs' second preseason loss to Lakers]

Oliver noted that "the NBA has put itself in a tight spot," but contended that the league would be unable to navigate out of it. In wrapping up the segment, he invoked Chriss once more. 

"And the reality is here that the NBA can either have a commitment to free speech, or they can have guaranteed access to the Chinese market, but they cannot have both," Oliver argued. "This will not be the last time that they'll be forced to choose, and my fear is they'll trade one for the other -- which would be the worst trade since Daryl Morey shipped out Marquese Chriss."