Last Week Tonight with John Oliver picked up its third consecutive win for Best Variety Series Writing at Night 2 of the Creative Arts Emmys. This time, however, Oliver and crew were a no-show, sending a message, read by a member of the show’s digital team. They assured Emmy attendees they were honored to win, but were “being held captive in a windowless writers room” in Manhattan, working on a segment that, as best we could tell, had to do with tax loopholes and a cranberry bog in New Jersey.
“Rest assured we are drunk,” they added, explaining the cranberry bog.
Oliver’s weekly HBO late night show won for an episode in which the deep dive topic was Alex Jones.
They also made sure to thank their families “who we hope to see once again.”
Presenter Judd Apatow put to words how many felt, in a running gag in which he chastised his daughter for not going with him to the ceremony, saying “You could have met one writer from John Oliver’s show.”
Oliver’s HBO show took this derby the past two years, and the acceptance speeches have become a “thing” so tonight’s no-show was disappointing. In 2016, Oliver said ,“We wrote a speech, but we’re Last Week Tonight so it’s 20 minutes long and has the f-word in it 52 times.” And backstage, the writers joked, of the show’s often inscrutable subject choices, that “sometimes we’re daring people not to watch with [subject] we’re talking about.”
Last year, accepting the win shortly after Dave Chappelle had given an off-teleprompter “shout out: DC public schools,” Oliver got into the spirit, saying, “I would like to unexpectedly thank D.C. Public Schools, just to get it trending on Twitter for no reason.”