Elon Slams John Oliver After 30-Minute Roast on Last Week Tonight

By: ScreenGawk Staff | Published: Jan 11, 2024

John Oliver recently released a 30-minute-long rant directly roasting Elon Musk … and the internet wasn’t prepared for what happened next. 

Rather than release a statement or work through a publicist, Elon Musk has taken it upon himself to clap back to the comedian — noting that his jokes were “self-serving,” “erratic,” and “racist.” Here’s what we know.

Where Did John Oliver Start in His Elon Musk Roast?

John Oliver, a famous comedian, began the roast on his late-night talk show on HBO. He launched into a criticism of Musk, comparing him to “any bad guy in a movie.” 

Elon Musk making a face of dissatisfaction

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Examples included James Bond antiheroes, the mean man in “Titanic” who made Kate Winslet cry, and the renowned Lex Luther from the DC universe. “Why would John Oliver roast Elon?” you might ask. No one’s sure (yet). 

What Else Did John Oliver Say?

The roast continued, covering other notable events that occurred for Elon Musk over the course of 2023. Among the named milestones included the 2-million-car Tesla recall, the Mark Zuckerberg vs. Musk cage fight, and others. 

An X post from BBC World News featuring Musk v. Zuckerberg cage fight.

Source: BBC News/X

He also mentioned the Twitter acquisition (now known as X), noting that it had been “one fiasco after another, with the most recent coming when he tweeted his agreement with this antisemitic post.”

The X Files

While the true meaning of the antisemitic post has long since been a topic of intention and internet debate, Oliver used it to segue into his next point: Musk lost a good portion of advertiser funding after the acquisition. 

An example of the X post in question, where Musk reposted a post from user @breakingbaht.

Source: X

As a result, Oliver noted, Musk went after advertisers directly — accusing them of not supporting free speech if they removed themselves from the platform. 

The Cybertruck Attack

None of Elon Musk’s businesses were exempt from Oliver’s roast. After the comedian went through the X advertiser bit, he turned his attention to Tesla — specifically, the Tesla cybertruck. 

John Oliver is shown roasting Elon Musk’s cybertruck.

Source: HBO Max/YouTube

Page Six quoted Oliver as he joked: “Who on earth actually wants to spend up to $100,000 to drive every child’s first attempt at drawing a car?” Oliver continued the bit and prodded, winning a few laughs from the audience. 

After the Rant: Social Media Ablaze

Social media users immediately took to X, Elon Musk’s platform, to discuss the roast and the possible response that Musk would have. 

A post by user @ALX on X, asking how Musk will recover.

Source: @alx/X

The segment went viral on X and other platforms, with many giving their two cents on the interview. One user, noted by Page Six, retweeted the segment with the comment: “Oh no … how will Elon recover?” Musk posted laughing emoji in response. 


Last but Not Least, SpaceX

SpaceX is renowned as the world’s most prevalent satellite company, per Page Six. Oliver took aim at the enterprise, stating that there was a twofold problem with the company’s formation; and both problem parts centered on Elon. 

A YouTube thumbnail detailing the recent SpaceX explosion is shown.

Source: YouTube

Oliver specifically noted Elon’s suggested erraticism, possibly hinting at his fast-moving operations and previously failed launches, and specifically stated concern about his influence on the world stage.


The First Shot: Musk vs. Oliver

Elon Musk replied directly to John Oliver as the segment went viral, starting by noting the comedian’s transformation that had taken place. 

SpaceX, Tesla, and X owner Elon Musk poses for the camera

Source: Chesnot/Getty Images

“Oliver was great several years ago, but stopped being funny when he sold his soul to wokeness, where humor is basically illegal,” Musk wrote on X


The History Informs the Present

While Musk kept his response lighthearted, history shows that the mogul seems to have few qualms about protecting his reputation. 

Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This was recently shown in November 2023 when Musk sued Media Matters for America, stating that they had defamed him in a piece outlining X ads running alongside offensive content. Many believe this piece is what jump-started the migration of advertisers from X to other platforms.


How Did Oliver End the Piece?

We know what Oliver ended up saying in the piece … but how did he end up resolving such a viral, scathing roast? 

Source: Chesnot/Getty Images

“I know Elon might be unhappy with this piece,” Oliver said (via The Street). “He might say he’s saving humanity, what have I ever done? What industry have I revolutionized? And I admit, nothing yet.”


The Internet Says …

Citizens had mixed views about the roast, seeming to fall decidedly into one of two camps: The camp that supports Elon, and the camp that supported what John Oliver had to say. 

An X post shows the different viewpoints that people take regarding the Elon roast.

Source: X

Several users are echoing the sentiment expressed above from @ControlChaos999, asking Grok, Elon’s AI tool, to roast him (again) — stating that he might do a better job than John Oliver did.


What Did Musk’s Staff Have to Say?

After all of the backlash and back and forth, many internet citizens and viewers are wondering what the staffers from either Oliver or Musk’s team have to say. 

Elon Musk holding a glass of water

Source: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

The Street notes that at the time of this article’s publication, neither representative has come forward to comment, despite requests for comment.