John Oliver spent his acclaimed first season on HBO’s Last Week Tonight sounding off on hot-button issues like civil forfeitures, the terror of drone strikes and the NFL’s wishy-wishy policies toward domestic abuse. And during Sunday night’s season finale, the host focused on another headline-maker: the Salmon Cannon.
Oliver opens the bit by giving a definition of “salmon”: “cat food for people, tuna’s understudy that you hope never has to go on and that stupid fish that doesn’t know how rivers work.” The host then cites a recent TV news report demonstrating the Salmon Cannon, a device that assists the fish in spawning by launching them upstream through a massive tube. “In your darkest moments of despair,” Oliver says, “when you see a world torn apart by war, I want you to remember that video and think, ‘We can do great things.'” And said video is incredible.
Unsatisfied with simply watching the Salmon Cannon, Oliver unveils his own knock-off version in a supercut video, which features an array of high-profile celebrities taking a fish in the face. First up is Oliver’s old Daily Show pal Jon Stewart, followed by Jimmy Fallon and a cheesy scene from The Young and the Restless; there are also appearances from Dwight Howard, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper, Tom Hanks, David Letterman, Wayne Brady and J.J. Abrams (directing R2-D2 on the set of the new Star Wars). The bit even takes an animated twist, with Homer Simpson subjected to pile after pile of salmon.