For the first time in more than a decade, neither Jon Stewart nor Stephen Colbert were on the list of nominees for Outstanding Variety Series. Stewart wasn’t eligible because he left The Daily Show in 2015, winning the award 10 straight years before passing the baton to The Colbert Report. With so much late-night competition, Colbert’s inconsistent first year on Late Show just didn’t make the cut.
Those vacancies left the lane wide open for Oliver, who received his first nomination and first win for HBO’s Last Week Tonight, beating out other newcomers to the category such as the instantly-successful James Corden along with previous nominees like Bill Maher, Jimmy Fallon and Kimmel.
Following Kimmel’s loss on Sunday, his longtime nemesis Matt Damon emerged from the wings to heckle him. “This is so humiliating,” Damon said, casually munching on an apple. “You lost and now you have to stand out here in front of everybody, when you probably just want to curl up and cry.”
Monday night, it was Oliver’s turn to gloat about his victory to Kimmel’s face. And he brought his Emmy with him. “Congratulations,” Kimmel told him, “It pains me to say it, but you definitely deserve it.” Oliver returned the favor, saying Kimmel does an “excellent job” as well. “I’m just so happy to be nominated with so many other great shows, that’s the honor,” Oliver added, before Kimmel revealed he was reading from cue cards.
After a hug and a break, Oliver admitted that he didn’t think he would win the Emmy because “I’m British, I anticipate disaster every day.” He even practiced his “What the fuck was that?!” face assuming he would lose.
When Kimmel noted that it’s somewhat “embarrassing” that Americans needed someone like the Last Week Tonight host to come over here and teach us about things like the health care system, Oliver said, “It’s less than ideal.”
As for what Brits think about his Emmy win, Oliver told Kimmel, “No one knows who I am there.” Unlike James Corden, who had a “successful career” in England, Oliver said, “I failed my way to America.”