The Real Reason You'll Never See John Oliver Host The Washington Correspondents' Dinner

John Oliver is kind of an unlikely success story. The British comedian with a self-confessed "fifth-grade understanding of American politics" has emerged as one of the most trusted and beloved voices in television. "It's all happened so quickly," he told The Guardian in 2018, acknowledging that, although it might seem "bizarre" to admit 11 years into it, "I don't feel I've come up for breath on any of this yet." With classic deadpan honesty, the "Last Week Tonight" host admitted, "The fact there is a poster of me in Times Square is absurd."

Oliver started his U.S. career working opposite the legendary Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," but has since carved out his own unique spot. He's upfront about how much work it's taken to get to this stage of his career, noting, "It's really, really easy to do these kinds of shows badly ... If you want to grab low-hanging fruit, that is child's play. What is hard is to try to do it in a substantive way." Oliver knows how lucky he is to be in such a high-profile position but, regardless of how big he gets, there's one gig the comedian refuses to take. 

John Oliver has no time for the passive-aggressive event

Comedian John Oliver has achieved plenty of things over the course of his celebrated career, both in comedy and as a beloved political commentator. However, hosting the illustrious Washington Correspondents' Dinner isn't something he's interested in. As the outspoken Brit explained in an interview with Rolling Stone, "I've annoyed too many people in the news world." He added, "That is a room with a lot of passive aggression in it." Fame in general doesn't phase him, with Oliver clarifying, "I like working, doing the thing, and then leaving. I like ringing the buzzer, and then running away, rather than sticking around." The "Last Week Tonight" host has little time for the Correspondents' Dinner in particular, though. 

When Donald Trump became the first president to skip it, since Ronald Reagan in 1981 (via Vanity Fair), Oliver quipped, "Who gives a s***?" to TMZ, reasoning there are plenty more important things to worry about than some "bulls***" dinner. Doubling down, Oliver noted simply, "I think it's meaningless" Trump didn't attend, arguing anybody who was able to focus on that instead of everything else going on needs some perspective. Just in case there was any doubt about his feelings on the event, the comedian told the New York Times, it's "a noxious concept" for which he has "such contempt." Oliver added, "I don't need to go and ruin their unearned evening of celebration. Any of that commentary, I can do on my own show."