Last Week Tonight tries to “compartmentalize” Trump talk in the first couple minutes of the program’s first 10-minute block so POTUS does not “cannibalize” each episode’s main subject, he said. And, when one TV critic noted during the TCA panel today that mocking Trump means ratings and asked if it would be a problem if “for any reason he went away,” Oliver shot back, “You sound like a mob boss.”
“No, that would be great,” Oliver insisted. “We were doing the show before he was [in office]. His absence was not a problem.” He added that Trump was not “the ingredient that comedy was crying out for.”
Another critic wondered what would become of Russell Crowe’s jock strap from Cinderella Man now that the Alaska Blockbuster store Oliver gave it to was closing.
“That’s a legitimate question,” Oliver complimented, calling it either a compliment or a “heartbreaking reflection” of his show. He said they were in the process of “working that out technically,” given that Oliver’s show obtained the item during an auction. “They’re selling some things from that store, and I don’t know what will happen to the jock strap in question.”
The Brit comic said he would like to see it become the Zelig of businesses, popping up wherever there is a business in trouble. “We initially thought it would be fun to do something with it and tried to force it on a Blockbuster in Alaska. Sadly it did not sustain that dying model.”
Asked if he could have imagined buying Crowe’s jock strap for $5K, Oliver joked, “It wasn’t a childhood dream of mine, but my dreams just weren’t big enough back then. I did not think it would be possible.”
Same person persisted in asking questions about the purchase of the jock strap and other items in Crowe’s auction, Oliver shot back, “Has AT&T sent you to audit” the show, wondering if he “could do it cheaper.”
“We pay our staff, give them health insurance and, every now and then, we buy a star’s jock strap. I would say that’s an essential purchase,” he joked.
In May, Oliver briefly sent fans into a Twitter frenzy when he announced he was shuttering his show after Crowe thanked him for spending so much money on his divorce auction by giving the money to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for creation of the John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward saying that was his shows stated goal from the start and there was nothing more to do as a crew began to bust down the set.