Can you keep a secret? Last Week Tonight mastermind John Oliver certainly can. In fact, he’s so good at that side of things, he managed to score and conduct an interview with exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden without HBO knowing. Well, until it was time for them to know.
The pay cable giant’s go-to non-Maher guy for political yuks and discussion addressed his impressive interview in Moscow last April with Snowden when chatting with the press in advance of season 3 of Last Week Tonight. He also spoke about it last week
tonight on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Oliver provided the same version of events to the gaggle of reporters he encountered today with some extra seasoning included. According to the British comedian, HBO was informed of the interview after it was complete and the premium channel was pretty cool about staying tightlipped about an interview that they’d definitely want to promote.
We couldn’t tell them that we were going to interview [Snowden], because there had to be very few people knowing about it … Also, I really liked the idea of it being a surprise, because we had this section at the start of the interview where I was really concerned he wasn’t going to turn up. But it’s not really funny if you promote it beforehand, so I thought it’d be great just to spring the interview on people.
Oliver readily admits that keeping the Snowden sit-down under wraps was the worst way commercially to present this exclusive, but he felt it was the most appropriate way to present the chat. He shared that he was “terrified” to meet Snowden because of his fugitive status, and even with things panning out on that front, he doesn’t see an El Chapo interview coming up on the horizon.
“No … Rolling Stone had already given him an offer he couldn’t refuse: a full edit on the story.”
Last Week Tonight is set to begin its new season next Sunday. Consider this your reminder to get all your romantic Valentine’s Day sh*t out of the way in the daytime so you can weasel in the season 3 premiere at night.