It has been 17 years and 193 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I am about to do a commercial. No, not for Willie Wonka but for John Oliver. Who is he, do you say? Don’t feel dumb. I didn’t know who he is either. He is a comedian on HBO with a show entitled “Last Week Tonight.” Here is the link to one of his latest efforts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stadiums (HBO) – YouTube .

I want to thank ‘Me’ and a friend, both of whom sent me the link to his monologue on sports stadiums. He cracked me up and if you watch you may share my opinion. I’m going to watch previous episodes and make sure I watch from now on.

He may be a comedian but he and his production team do a lot of research and interspersed among the jokes are big, fat, fact bombs. He described today’s stadiums as thFYHUH64Abeing designed by “a coked up Willy Wonka” as he pointed out that the Marlins have an aquarium behind home plate and Dallas has a suspended swimming pool within its stadium. He said that in the past 20 years $12 billion dollars has been spent on 51 stadiums in the United States. He alluded to the often used statement by team owners that they cannot afford to build a stadium on their dime. Yet they will not share their financial books to provide a modicum of truth to the statement. He went on to say that owners monetize every part of the stadium and do not revenue share with taxpayers who foot the bill for constructing these stadiums. These owners keep the revenue on such items as naming rights, concession sales tax and luxury suite sales.

John Oliver even introduced Glendale into the picture at the 13 minute, 59 second mark. He highlighted that Glendale had cancelled their arena contract and the mayor and councilmembers have been virtually pilloried for doing so by showing the segment where a Coyotes fan tazed the mayor for a charity event.

Oliver is funny and he manages to use his brand of comedy to teach some basic facts about his topic of choice. Please join me in giving this guy a spin, kick his tires and check under his hood. We might learn something new in the process.

 © Joyce Clark, 2015


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