“Thank you to Game of Thrones for the lead-in over the years,” Oliver said. “It’s been really great. It’s been so fun trying to figure out how to lose your audience each week. ‘Municipal Tax District’ really shook them off.” (The show’s long, deeply reported segments on sometimes arcane and un-telegenic subjects have become a calling card.)
Oliver also acknowledged the staff of Last Week Tonight, which blends conventional comedic elements with enterprise reporting and problem-solving of all sorts. “They built a 6,000-pound cake to piss off the leader of Turkmenistan,” he said. “I was so proud of them.”
In addition to current brass at HBO, Oliver also thanked Richard Plepler, the longtime former HBO boss who green-lit Oliver’s show and considered it a point of pride. Plepler began his professional path as a U.S. Senate aide and has harbored a deep passion for politics throughout his life. When WarnerMedia overhauled its operations and Bob Greenblatt joined as entertainment chairman, Plepler opted to exit after a 28-year run.
Earlier in the evening, Last Week Tonight also won for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
After becoming a noteworthy part of the success of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show — and a fill-in host when Jon Stewart left to direct a movie — Oliver became a major get for HBO. The first episode of Last Week Tonight aired in 2014.
Here’s Oliver backstage after the win: