John Oliver took a few shots at HBO Max on Sunday Last week tonight — which, of course, airs on HBO.
The comments come two weeks after his parent Warner Bros. Discovery criticized for its decision to quit batgirl. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that CEO David Zaslav chose to shelve the project in order to make a $90 million tax write-off on the film. Meanwhile, several other series and movies have been pulled from the streamer by Warner Bros. Discovery as part of its plan to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into one service.
On Sunday night’s episode Last week tonight, Oliver referenced the write-off during a clip about former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin running for the state House seat in a special election.
Oliver quoted from an Aug. 16 New Yorker story: “Sarah knows how to work a mob…but it’s Sarah, Inc.” He went on to say that “Sarah, Inc.” sounds like the title of a sitcom starring Kat Dennings that has already quietly disappeared from HBO Max,” before jokingly adapting HBO’s famous catchphrase: “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” Oliver said: “HBO Max. It’s not television. It’s a series of tax write-offs to appease Wall Street.”
Earlier in the segment, Oliver noted that Palin running to the office is giving him deja vu from 14 years ago. “It’s like it’s 2008 again: [Palin’s] to be a candidate, the US entered a bear market, and Sex and the city spin-offs where it honestly doesn’t have the material to back it up,” Oliver joked, as he opened the marketing poster for both the first Sex and the city theatrical film and the recent revival of HBO Max And just like that. “Society is going backwards,” he added.
Two weeks ago, during a segment on unused COVID-19 vaccines, Oliver criticized Batgirl’s decision. “We’ve left the vaccine unused on a shelf in our reserves, like an expired Chobani or a $90 million movie on HBO Max. By the way: Hi there, new business dad. Looks like you’re doing a really great job. I have a vague feeling that you’re burning my network down for the insurance money, but I’m sure it will all pass,” he said.
Oliver often criticized the previous parent company AT&T when it owned HBO, also calling it “business daddy.” He also hit before And just like that to move on without original star Kim Cattrall.