As Last Week Tonight viewers might remember, Oliver ran a segment on off-the-wall third party candidates during the 2016 presidential election. One of those candidates was Joe Exotic, the now-incarcerated star of the hit Netflix series. After Seth Meyers noted that Oliver essentially “discovered” Exotic, the British host was initially reluctant to have his name connected with the tiger phenomena. “Don’t throw me in with that sh*t,” he joked before eventually diving into the unusual circumstances of reporting on Exotic.
“We were looking for the craziest third-party candidate, found his ad, and it was just the lowest hanging, juiciest fruit. Almost you think, ‘Could this be real? Mmm, so sweet, so juicy.'” Oliver recalled. But while his researchers looked into the big cat enthusiast, they warned that the show “might not want to hold hands too closely” with Exotic because there seemed to be all kinds of shady business going on with his animal park.
Shortly after Tiger King became a viral sensation, Oliver went back through his team’s research material, and he shared with Meyers one note that definitely stood out from the rest. “He talks a lot about this person named Carole.” (Exotic is currently in-prison for paying an undercover FBI agent $5,000 to take out Carole Baskin.)
As much as Oliver would probably prefer not to be associated with Exotic, his Last Week Tonight segment was featured in the Netflix series. Despite clearly being the butt of a joke, Exotic’s friends say the attention from Oliver turned him into an even bigger egomaniac. “Joe got a big head,” businessman James Garretson said on the show. “Even though they were making fun of him, Joe was the star.”
You can watch the full Last Week Tonight segment below, with Joe Exotic’s presidential run starting at the 1:40 mark: