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Did John Oliver die? Last Week Tonight pulls a fast one with dark prank

Bruno Cooke May 16, 2022
did john oliver die


The latest instalment of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (season 9 episode 11), in which the host discusses the regulations governing electric utility companies, has left *some* fans of the show believing Oliver might be dead. Did John Oliver really die by the hand of “murderous hell-demon” Reddy Kilowatt?

No, John Oliver did not die during latest episode of Last Week Tonight

Season 9 episode 11 of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver aired last night (15 May 2022). It has a rating of 7.6/10 on IMDB, based on ten early voters.

One IMDB contributor’s synopsis of the episode includes that John “discusses the incredible amount of power we give electric utility companies”. 

Another notes he “advocates for making utility companies government-owned”. None refers to the “death” of John Oliver. 

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LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 19: John Oliver and staff, winner for Outstanding Variety Talk Series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on the red carpet for the 73rd Annual Emmy Awards taking place at LA Live on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

So why do some Last Week Tonight viewers seem to think John Oliver died on-air last night?

Oliver brings on ‘murderous hell-demon’ Reddy Kilowatt 

After discussing electric bills, utility companies and the “bizarre system” (writes HuffPost) in which “electric companies have a massive financial incentive to build new infrastructure but no incentive to maintain what’s already there”, Oliver notes that, at this point, he would usually bring out a mascot to help him make his point.

But in this case, he didn’t have to invent one. “They already made a murderous hell-demon almost 100 years ago,” he says, referring to Reddy Kilowatt.

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Source: YouTube [LastWeekTonight]

In the bit, Jennifer Barnhart voices the eerie mascot. Her credits include Sesame Street and Between The Lions.

“I could kill you right now and there’s nothing anyone could do about it,” Reddy boasts. And then that’s what he does. He *kills* comedian John Oliver – but, it’s a stage-killing. John Oliver doesn’t actually die – he is not actually dead.

Watch the segment below. Skip to the end to witness the “death” of John Oliver.

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How many more episodes are there in this season of Last Week Tonight?

Season 9 of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has so far run for 11 episodes. Episode 12 will air on 22 May 2022.

Newsweek reported in November last year that, in September 2020, HBO had ordered “90 more episodes” of Last Week Tonight “across three seasons”.

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The Outfit | Official Trailer

The Outfit | Official Trailer

The outlet added the order would keep the show on the air until November 2023 at the earliest. The figure also suggests there will be 30 episodes in each of seasons 9 and 10 (season 8 ran for 30 episodes).

That means there are almost certainly 19 more episodes of Last Week Tonight to come in this season.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or