NEW YORK >> Relax, John Oliver fans. He’s not really quitting.
It was all a joke. The host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” said Sunday that he’d achieved all he’d wanted for the show by having an Australian animal hospital’s special ward to treat a chlamydia outbreak among koalas named for him.
“Goodbye, forever, everyone,” he said as stagehands broke up the set around him. “I regret nothing. I regret nothing. My work here is done.”
That inspired a wave of social media posts among fans wondering if he was serious. No. It’s a comedy show, after all. HBO said Monday that he’s scheduled to be back on the air next Sunday.
Oliver can thank actor Russell Crowe for the honor. “Last Week Tonight” recently purchased some of Crowe’s movie memorabilia — including an athletic supporter that was donated to a video store in Anchorage, Alaska, and is now on display.
Crowe promised he’d make good use of the money earned from Oliver’s show and, hearing of the koalas’ health problems, donated it to an effort headed by the family of the late Steve Irwin, known as the Crocodile Hunter, to help the animals. The Irwins suggested putting up the plaque.
“Well played, Russell Crowe,” Oliver said. “Well played, indeed.”