In one of the most famous bits on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host explains how the recurring jokes about Adam Driver came to fruition.
John Oliver explains how Last Week Tonight with John Oliver came up with the jokes about Adam Driver. The multiple Emmy Award-winning talk show is best known for its thoroughly researched weekly analyses on current political events and news topics, such as coal mining and opioids. The show also takes an unrelenting willingness for its satirical views, and performs maximum stunts for comedic purposes, including purchasing Russell Crowe’s jockstrap and conducting a Bob Murray dance number.
Over the course of its seventh season, the news satire has kept up with its tradition of abnormal recurring jokes during discussion of serious topics, with its most famous being Oliver’s obsession with Adam Driver and commenting on the actor’s massive physical build by imploring the Oscar nominee to perform violent acts on him. The show ended its 2020 season by Driver making an appearance criticizing Oliver for his large number of inappropriate requests.
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Per Collider, Oliver has now explained in an interview with Steven Weintraub where the Driver jokes originated from in Last Week Tonight. Like many of the show’s random jokes, Oliver did not expect the one about Adam Driver to land as well as it did with the audience, which inspired the writers to continue with it and conclude it in an iconic way. Oliver’s full story can be viewed below:
“No, that was a one-off joke. That was one of the final shows that we actually had in the studio before the pandemic kicked in. I just liked it because it was a really funny joke. The audience seemed to like it a little bit and be very uncomfortable as well. And it was the perfect synthesis of those two reactions. So then we did it again and then again and it felt like a really fun joke format. Then we were about to stop because it felt like, well, unless this joke is heading somewhere to your point, it probably should end.
That was when we reached out to Adam Driver to say, “hey, I don’t know if you know we are doing this joke, if you would like to come on at the end of the year I will keep going and we’ll set it up. If not, we will stop.” Because we did not want to get into that situation, exactly like you say, where you are building to a payoff, and you can’t stick the landing. So once we knew he was going to come at the end of the year, at that point, and this is five jokes in, at that point we realized, oh, we are continuing this at the end of the year then. But you can confidently accelerate knowing that the payoff is going to be beautiful.”
With the show being recognized for its extreme and borderline disturbing sense of humor, it is no surprise that Oliver’s infatuation with Driver had such a comedic impact on its audience. Comedy shows tend to test the waters when incorporating new material to see how the audience would respond to it, and with Last Week Tonight, it is only fair that after a season-long recurrence of arbitrary quips at Driver’s expense, it would be completed in such a poetic fashion.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has been renewed until 2023, so it can be assured that Oliver and the writing team will come up with many more absurd jokes to fit into its weekly discussions of political and unexamined topics. The show is also known for its numerous celebrity cameos that are integrated into its deep dives, so perhaps it will find another amusing way to taunt a celebrity the way it did with Driver. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver premieres its new season on February 20 on HBO.
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About The Author
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Chris is a feature news writer for ScreenRant who joined the team in 2020. A graduate of NYU Tisch program, Chris has been passionate about films and television and enjoys a range of content, especially ones with great writing. Chris also likes to watch award shows and predict the winners with his recent success predicting Anthony Hopkins to win for The Father at the Oscars.
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