Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, John Oliver has hosted his weekly “Last Week Tonight” from home in a white-backgrounded — and very sassy — “blank void.” But, last week Oliver was able to safely return to his New York City studio, and do his show for a live — masked and socially distant — audience.
His void was surprisingly more upset about saying goodbye to the host than expected, with his final appearance being an emotional rendition of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from the Broadway classic “Les Miserables” — but not without a little flag that said “F— you John.” Of course, the void couldn’t resist one last joke, deadpanning “Queen Elizabeth had Princess Diana murdered, good night” as Oliver tried to stop him.
Oliver was clearly happy to be back in his studio on Sunday though, having missed the fan interaction.
That said, this Sunday is a big night. The 73rd Emmys are set to air on Sunday, live and in person. So, as is typical on Emmys night, this week there is not a new episode of “Last Week Tonight.“ Instead, HBO will re-run Oliver’s May 23, 2021 episode.
In case you missed his return to a live audience last weekend, here’s what went down.
In typical Oliver fashion, he had a clear target during his show and this time, he surprised people by calling out AT&T, his network’s parent company, blasting HBO’s “business daddy” for staying silent on the anti-abortion law in Texas.
“So far, much of corporate America has decided to not weigh in on this — a stark contrast to their recent willingness to speak out on racial justice, voting rights and other social issues — and it’s not just silence here,” Oliver said. A major donor to the sponsors and co-sponsors of this bill is a political action committee belonging to AT&T who, pending approval of our sale to Discovery, are still technically our business daddy.”
He told viewers that his team had reached out to AT&T and received the following statement: “Employee PAC contributions to Texas legislators went to both supporters and opponents of the Texas legislation.” Oliver noted that the AT&T representative said that the company had never taken a stance on abortion, but in doing so, they really kind of were.
“Listen, not taking a stance on this issue right now is taking a stance and both sides-ing abortion isn’t really the PR slam dunk that they seem to think it is,” Oliver said.