John Oliver takes a jab at WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service called HBO Max in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Getting his start at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent, Oliver went on to headline his own weekly satirical show on HBO in 2014. Since then, it's racked up awards, including four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Talk Series, the latest of which came this year.
Known for his n0-holds-barred commentary on obscure but surprisingly relevant topics, Oliver and his team supposedly have full creative autonomy over what topics to tackle on Last Week Tonight. In their six seasons, they've shone a light on varying things, including tobacco, the coal industry, WWE, NCAA, Mount Everest, public shaming, multi-level marketing, TV evangelists, and mobile homes. In their latest episode, he took on weather, and the tension between public and private sector handling of weather predictions. But before he even made it to his main story, Oliver also briefly addressed the rising conflict between China and the NBA, which somehow paved the way for him to poke fun at HBO Max.
In the middle of his NBA/China segment in which he criticized the association for forcing their employees to "engage in promotional bullish*t to appease the whims of their parent company.," Oliver proceeded to do an sarcastic reading of a marketing spiel for HBO Max - the upcoming video-on-demand service from Last Week Tonight's parent company, WarnerMedia. Read the hilarious statement laced with sarcasm below:
“Have you heard about HBO Max? Looking to add another app and monthly charge to watch things? HBO Max has you covered. It’s going to have all your favorites: Re-runs of ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ re-runs of ‘Friends,’ re-runs of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’ You can pay for all of those through HBO max. HBO Max: It’s not HBO, it’s just TV.”
While it seems like an edgy way to actually sell HBO Max to his viewers, Oliver's statement may also be viewed as a way to distance itself from said streaming platform. Despite the name, the service isn't connected directly with the flagship HBO network where the host's weekly show airs every Sunday. This makes it odd for WarnerMedia to name their upcoming platform after something that's unrelated to it, despite being underf the same corporate umbrella. HBO Max is set to debut next April, just a few months after Apple TV+ and Disney+ go live. It'll be the home of popular shows like FRIENDS and The Big Bang Theory, both of which are currently available on Netflix.
Jabs like this shouldn't be surprising for fans of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, since the host pokes fun at pretty much everyone. He even periodically threw shade at AT&T while it was in the middle of a tumultuous acquisition of WarnerMedia, and again after the deal was done. Considering that, fans can probably expect more fun comedy bits with regard to HBO Max as it gears up for its release in the next few months.