John Oliver Called Out This Director and He Responded in a Movie

John Oliver calls out lots of people on his show, however, not all of them respond. Going against the grain, a famous comedy director took one of his critiques to heart. Here’s how he wrote one of his movies to respond to Oliver.

John Oliver in front of dolls
John Oliver | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

A classic 1990s movie people find problematic today

Firstly, a little background. Kevin Smith is a famous director known for his comedies like Clerks, Dogma, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. One of his more mature films is a drama called Chasing Amy. Although it has many vulgar moments, it’s really a film about relationships and growth.

Chasing Amy is the story of a man named Holden (Ben Affleck). Holden falls in love with Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) only to learn she’s a lesbian. Afterward, Alyssa falls in love with Holden anyway and tells him she’s never been intimate with a man.

Holden learns this is a lie and that Alyssa had sex with a number of men when she was younger. Why did she lie? She thought if Holden believed he was the first man she slept with, he would feel special. The lie puts a strain on their relationship. Subsequently, Holden adapts their story into a comic book called Chasing Amy. According to Box Office Mojo, the film was a hit in 1997, grossing $12 million.

A Chasing Amy trailer

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Why John Oliver had a problem with ‘Chasing Amy’

According to TheWrap, Oliver took issue with Chasing Amy. “Set aside the notion that any lesbian could be magically turned straight if the right guy comes along,” he said. “What’s extra offensive in hindsight is the idea that guy would be Ben Affleck.” 

Oliver’s interpretation of the film isn’t exactly accurate. After all, the film never claims Alyssa become straight for Holden — just that she decided to get romantically involved with a man for the first time in years. Regardless, Smith felt Oliver’s comment had a huge impact on the way people viewed his film. 

Kevin Smith | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for AMC

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How Kevin Smith responded to John Oliver’s call out

“Suddenly Chasing Amy is completely f*cking reframed through that one 30 second clip in this movie,” Smith said. “Chasing Amy has become a bit more problematic for some audiences in the current climate. So I got to go back and correct that stuff as well … how Chasing Amy would’ve been so much better if it was made by anybody but a cis, white male. Things we couldn’t say in 1997 because we didn’t know they existed, but things that I get from 22 years of perspective and hearing people talk about the movie, good and bad, for two f*cking decades.”

Afterward, Smith made a movie called Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. In it, Holden and Alyssa have minor roles. During the movie, we learn that the Chasing Amy comic book will be adapted into a Netflix series with Alyssa at the helm, so it will be told from her perspective rather than the cis, white, male perspective of Holden. Oliver’s political statements don’t always change the world — but they did inspire Smith’s work.