John Oliver is celebrating the end of the actors strike — sort of. On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, he noted that the 118-day strike had come to an end after SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers last week (the deal still has to be ratified by the guild).
“The SAG strike finally ended, meaning that movies will be back in production,” he began in the opening segment of his HBO show. “Although to be honest, I’m not even sure that I need movies anymore since this 17-minute video was released of what I can only describe as a hamster Gatsby living its best life.”
He then showed about a minute of a video titled “The Awesome Hamster Ball Pool Maze” uploaded to YouTube by Homura Ham Pets that’s garnered 1.4 million in the four months it’s been online. (Watch the video below in its entirety.)
“It’s a complete masterpiece and it goes on for 16 more minutes. I mean, Barbenheimer was fine,” Oliver said, referring to movies Barbie and Oppenheimer, which opened on the same weekend. “I liked it fine, but be honest, it’s just not as good as that.”
Oliver, of course, was joking. When his show returned with new episodes in October following the end of the writers strike, he expressed anger at the studios, accusing them of prolonging the strike.
“The Writers Guild went on strike and thankfully won, but it took a lot of sacrifices from a lot of people to achieve that,” he said. “And while I’m happy that they eventually got a fair deal and immensely proud of what our union accomplished, I’m also furious that it took the studios 148 days to achieve a deal that they could have offered on day one. But hopefully, this might encourage others, from auto workers to Starbucks baristas to health care providers, whether they are in unions or would like to be, to find power in each other. And within our particular industry.”
The end of the actors strike marks a new chapter for the film and television industry. The strike had halted production on numerous projects, causing major delays and financial losses. With the tentative deal in place, the industry can now move forward and resume production on stalled films and television shows. This is welcome news for actors, crew members, and fans who have eagerly awaited the return of their favorite productions.
However, the resolution of the strike also raises important questions about the power dynamics within the industry. The lengthy duration of the strike and the challenges faced by the striking workers highlight the need for fair labor practices and negotiations between industry stakeholders. The fact that such a protracted strike was necessary to achieve a fair deal is concerning and speaks to the need for greater solidarity and advocacy within the entertainment industry.
It is also worth reflecting on the impact of the strike on individuals within the industry. Many workers were unable to earn a living during the strike, and the uncertainty surrounding the future of their projects and careers took a significant toll on their well-being. The resolution of the strike should serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting workers and ensuring that they are fairly compensated for their contributions to the industry.
In light of the end of the strike, there is an opportunity for the industry to reflect on the underlying issues that led to the labor dispute and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for all workers. This includes advocating for fair wages, safe working conditions, and representation for marginalized communities within the industry.
Ultimately, the end of the actors strike represents a significant milestone for the industry, but it should also serve as a catalyst for meaningful change and reform. It is imperative that industry stakeholders come together to address the systemic issues that have contributed to labor disputes and work towards creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all workers.