For five seasons, John Oliver and his team at HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” have pulled absurd pranks such as starting a church and buying commercial time during “Fox & Friends” in an attempt to Trojan-horse information to President Trump.
Oliver’s pranks have become his trademark — to the point that fans now predict certain real-world events are his doing.
That happened most recently when Russell Crowe held a controversial auction at Sotheby’s Australia in Sydney titled “The Art of Divorce.” As the title implied, the auction came on the heels of his divorce from singer Danielle Spencer. It was held on his birthday — which was also the anniversary of the former couple’s wedding.
Crowe auctioned off 227 items, most of them memorabilia from his various film roles. Many of the items up for sale raised eyebrows, particular the leather jockstrap that he wore in “Cinderella Man,” the Ron Howard-helmed movie about a boxer in the 1930s. Those highbrows jumped even higher when the jockstrap sold for $7,000, prompting some to wonder whether Oliver was the bidder.
On Sunday, following a short segment about how the last few Blockbuster stores in Alaska are struggling to stay afloat, the comic addressed these rumors.
“There has been some speculation out there that we were the ones who bought that jockstrap, and I will admit that it does sound like something we would do,” Oliver said. “You know, buy Russell Crowe’s jockstrap and send it to one of the last remaining Blockbusters in Alaska. Even that sentence is absolutely incredible to say out loud. The bad news is, we didn’t do it. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It wasn’t us. We didn’t buy it.”
Oliver then paused, barely containing his excitement.
“We did though,” he said, before yelling the famous line from Crowe’s “Gladiator”: “Are you not entertained?”
As it turned out, Oliver and his team bought more than just the jockstrap.
“It was 4 a.m. over here, and you know what happens when you start online shopping late at night?” Oliver said. “This was very much one of those times. We didn’t just get a jockstrap, we got a bunch of pointless Russell Crowe memorabilia,” including gym shorts and a satin robe also from “Cinderella Man,” a hood the actor wore in “Robin Hood” and a vest he donned for “Les Miserables.”
His plan? To give it all to an Alaskan Blockbuster, hopefully transforming it into a tourist destination.
Oliver addressed “the manager of the only remaining Blockbuster in Anchorage,” saying, “Just call us in the next 48 hours, and we will send it to you.”
“And I really hope the Internet is good enough up there for you to see this in time,” he added, “because if we do not hear from you in the next two days, I know a transportation museum in Scranton, Pa., that I’m sure can make room for a new exhibit.”