John Oliver reveals history of his Adam Driver bit, from its origin to their final confrontation
John Oliver has revealed how one joke about Adam Driver led to the actor confronting him on 'Last Week Tonight.'
How did John Oliver end up with Adam Driver yelling at him after he demanded of the Star Wars actor, "Crush my larynx, you unwieldy boulder"? It all began quite simply, with the Last Week Tonight host deciding to troll his studio audience.
Stopping by Late Night to chat with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, Oliver explained how "the initial seed" of "a very weird joke out of absolutely nowhere" became the mighty tree that was his long-running bit imploring Driver to "demolish" him. "The water on that seed was, back when we had an audience, feeling real resistance from the audience at the [initial] joke," Oliver said. "It felt like they about 40 percent enjoyed it....So we did it as a callback a few weeks later, and they weren't really happy to have it back. And so at that point, it became something of an obsession in our staff."
The first Driver joke occurred in the second episode of the show's recently-concluded seventh season, when Oliver demanded, "Step on my throat, Adam Driver, you rudely large man. Break my fingers, you brooding mountain." (In the clip, you can indeed feel a somewhat muted response from the audience.)
Throughout the rest of the season, much of which took place in an audience-less "void" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oliver would frequently return to the well, asking Driver to "Shatter my knees, you f---able redwood," "Impale my brain, you unacceptable monstrosity," and "Ravage my lungs, you relentless hillock," among many, many other bizarre demands.
On Late Night, Oliver also revealed how he and his staff engineered the bit's grand culmination in the season 7 finale, with Driver himself appearing on the show to confront the comedian. "A few months into the bit...we reached out to him and said, 'I don't know if you know what we've been doing,'" Oliver said. "'We've been making some comments about you, and would you hypothetically be interested in responding towards the end of the year?'"
Then the reply came: "'He has heard about it, he thinks it's very strange, and he's in.'"
"We didn't know what we were gonna do, but at least we knew at that point that we had an end in sight," Oliver explained. "And as it turned out, what the end in sight was, was him calling into the show and explaining the ways in which he was gonna demolish me."
Watch the video above for more, including Meyers and Oliver fawning over Driver's acting skills. ("He was really flexing muscles!")
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.