John Oliver Says He Couldn’t Host the Oscars Because He’d ‘Poison the Room’ with ‘Visible Contempt’
Following Jimmy Kimmel’s successful third hosting performance on this past Sunday’s Academy Awards, the entertainment world may be wondering who will be the next late-night comedian to take up the mantle of the multi-time Oscars host. Very likely, no single person thinks that it will be the acerbic and iconoclastic John Oliver — least of all John Oliver himself.
Last night, the Last Week Tonight host appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers and delivered a derisive diatribe directed at the Oscars in which he explained exactly why he thought Kimmel executed his role to perfection, as well as why he himself will never succeed his colleague. “I don’t think it would be a net benefit for anyone involved,” opined Oliver on the possibility of him ever hosting Hollywood’s biggest night.
And that’s not just because the Oscars directly “competes” with Last Week Tonight for viewership in the way the Harlem Globetrotters “compete” with the Washington Generals.
“The great thing about Kimmel is that he’s obviously funny,” Oliver began with the lone complimentary comment of the interview. “But also, you’re confident that there is this low-lying contempt for the whole event. He somehow doesn’t manage to poison the room with that visible contempt, and that is a kind of magic trick I couldn’t do.”
Oliver envisioned himself in the hosting gig and the horror show it would undoubtedly become, saying, “I could not, at any point, say, ‘It’s going to be a magical night.’ I’d say, ‘It’s not though, is it? These are some of the most over-praised people on Earth, and we’re going to give them shiny trophies like they’re dogs.’”
It’s unclear if Oliver, the winner of a whopping 17 Emmys during his expansive career in television, harbors those same sentiments toward his own accolades. Then again, maybe the Emmys just have better treats.