'Death to Turkeys!': John Oliver Waxes on Presidential Thanksgiving Pardons

'Last Week Tonight' host leads satirical rallying cry in web exclusive

John Oliver's satirical HBO news show Last Week Tonight wrapped its acclaimed first season earlier this month, but not even a production hiatus can keep the host from making fun of presidential turkey pardons. In the above web exclusive, Oliver takes aim at Thanksgiving's strangest tradition – "no, not sitting through a Detroit Lions game" – and cooks up a delicious alternative.

"There is something profoundly strange about the president making a show of pardoning one turkey to mark a holiday on which everyone, the president included, consumes an estimated 46 million birds," Oliver says. "If we're going to pardon one turkey, we should pardon them all. Or we should put them all on trial." In Oliver's eyes, all of these turkeys deserve edible justice – they're "guilty of having delicious bird parts that should be serving time in the prison of my mouth."

Oliver ends the clip with a rallying cry of "Death to turkeys!" and a strong holiday suggestion to future commanders-in-chief: "If you want the world to respect you just once, show up at a White House turkey pardoning with a cleaver and administer the justice these birds so clearly deserve."

Last Week Tonight will return with new episodes in February. It'll be a challenge to top the balance of hilarity and insight they unleashed in their first 24 episodes, tackling hot-button topics civil forfeitures, the terror of drone strikes and the NFL's unclear policies toward domestic abuse. The series wrapped up its first season with an especially silly gag, firing a Salmon Cannon at guests like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, R2-D2 and Homer Simpson.