Last Week Tonight will return from winter break this Sunday on HBO, and host/Internet headlining algorithm John Oliver has been hard at work for weeks trying to get material worked out for new episodes. But he also knows that it's going to be impossible to avoid the subject of Donald Trump, as much as he wishes otherwise. As he told reporters this week in anticipation of the new season, he's trying to find a balance of what the show covers: "I think we are very anxious to not make it ‘all Trump all the time,’ both on a level of interest and a level of what the human soul can sustain," Oliver said.

According to Politico, Oliver and his writers were very cognizant of the fact that many of Trump's first Executive Orders touched upon pieces they had done in recent years: "This is a really depressing exercise, but over a period of about five days last week, we realized that each executive order related to a story that we had done in the previous years. We were retweeting from our show account, saying, 'this is a depressing pattern but here is our story on Iraqi translators you might want to see, here is our story on what the actual special immigrant process is, here is the fiduciary rule, wave goodbye to it as it sails away into the distance,'" Oliver said. "As it happened, by pure chance or the fact that we might be diametrically opposed to the president’s instincts, lots of our stories from the past three years have become very relevant, even for narrow, complicated things.”

The stories they've been working on over the last month apparently have nothing to do with Trump, but he acknowledges that it's more because there'll be plenty of Trump-related material to cover in real time that they can't predict right now. "He moves so fast that there's no real point in spending a month on something that he's said until you work out what the consequences of that are going to be," he said.

Not so long ago, Oliver was eating crow for previously telling Stephen Colbert he didn't care about Trump and wasn't planning on covering him ("I didn’t care, and I didn’t think I’d have to care"). Now, he's just trying to make sense of where his show stands in the late night comedy landscape: "I think you've probably got to work harder. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit with administrations like this, and you kind of need to reach past that," Oliver said.

For a cover story with Rolling Stone, Oliver got into even more depth about his post-election depression, his fears about his child's future in America (and his own green card status), and the Trump surrogates whose doublespeak has infected the discourse.

Did you share the general shudder when Kellyanne Conway introduced the idea of "alternative facts"?

It's just a framing device, an ear-catching phrase, but it's nothing new. The content of what she's wrapping a bow on is something that everyone has been bearing witness to. We've had 18 months of feelings over facts. The only thing that's remotely new about it is the location that it's coming from.

Is interviewing her essentially pointless?

In general, it's very dangerous to keep the old campaign architecture around with this presidency, to have an eight-person panel on CNN debating whether or not he said something. "Did he or did he not do this thing we watched him do?" There's actually serious harm in that discussion. And, yeah. I really don't see the point of talking to Kellyanne Conway because her language jujitsu is so strong. You know she can look you in the eyes and tell you the opposite of what you just saw happen, and she will be more confident in her answer than you are in your question.

The White House press corps seemed stunned by "alternative facts," and by Sean Spicer's haranguing them with falsities.

That's absurd. There's nothing to be stunned about. Trump and everyone around him have been consistent to a fault in their behavior. There's this sense that, well, D.C. is the dominant gene, and anyone who goes there will have to kowtow to how things are done there. But you're dealing with a human wrecking ball.

He also mentioned a very tantalizing tidbit about what Jon Stewart has been up to: "We'll see how long that goes on for," he said regarding Stewart's relative silence over recent months, bar a few appearances on Colbert and Samantha Bee's shows. "You've gotta be able to do a year off. After you've worked at the pace he has, you just physically have to be able to do a year. I mean, he's working on things. So he's publicly quiet, but he's not privately quiet. He's using his brain and working on stuff right now."