The satirical “audio newspaper” co-hosted by Oliver and British punmaster Andy Zaltzman has been on life support for quite a while. By my count, they’ve only done one real episode in the past year. On Friday, Oliver finally announced that he would be departing the show to concentrate on keeping online media alive by TOTALLY EVISCERATING things on Last Week Tonight.
But Oliver had to die for “The Bugle” to live—it will be returning in mid-September with a rotating group of cohosts, including Wyatt Cenac, Hari Kondabolu, and Helen Zaltzman, Andy’s sister and the host of the very good etymology podcast The Allusionist.
Still, Oliver will be missed. Over the course of nine years, “The Bugle” was biting and hilarious. Based in the U.S. and Britain, it was more or less stateless, like if the BBC World was mostly bullshit. It was also something of a survivor, outlasting many of its favorite targets—such as Muammar Gaddafi and Osama bin Laden (for whom the term “fuckeuology” was coined)—and the support of its original patron, Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper. (“The Bugle” was let go after repeatedly mocking The News of the World during the phone hacking scandal in 2011.)
But mostly, “The Bugle” was great at joking about stuff that didn’t matter at all—penises drawn on roofs, football players shooting themselves in the foot, royal weddings and/or babies. And it will hopefully be great at those things even without Oliver, who was very self-effacingly British in his sendoff, asking, “How much of [the 200 hours of “The Bugle”] do you think you could honestly call ‘valuable content?’”