HBO’s John Oliver seduced/flabbergasted by local(?) guy, Steve, at Tower Theater last night

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

Steve, where are you? Who are you? We have so many questions.

During the final Philly standup performance of former Daily Show correspondent, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and generally brilliant political satirist John Oliver, many things happened.

Oliver dropped a whiz-bang Bill Cosby joke, wherein he compared the disgraced America’s Dad to Antarctic seals that, apparently, sexually assault penguins for “fuck practice.”

“I used to laugh at seals, and now I look at them as sexual predators. Seals have become like Bill Cosby,” Oliver said, to a mix of applause and gasps.

While discussing all things great and confusing about America, the Brit marveled at the annual Mummer’s Parade and how it reinforces what a hard-drinking, no-shits-given city Philly is (video here).

But one unplanned moment left Oliver with emotions he hadn't anticipated.

Toward the end of the show, Oliver was kneeling at the front of the stage, when a young gentleman from one of the first few rows stood up and walked right toward Oliver to take the main exit row out of the theater, presumably to go to the bar or restroom. He was raised to his full height, made complete eye contact, and slowly sauntered past. Every eye in the room was on him.

Completely disarmed, Oliver interrupted himself to say, “That was a very confident walk, my God…” as the guy continued to catwalk toward the back of the house, seemingly unfazed.

Thus began nearly 20 minutes of Oliver’s bemused riffing on the experience.

“I’ve had a lot of hecklers try to destabilize a gig,” he said. “But I’ve never been so destabilized by a man strolling confidently past as here in Philadelphia.”

“I feel like a woman in a bar, I feel winked at,” Oliver continued. “I think I’ve been seduced … I don’t know if that’s what women want, but it’s what the world needs.”

Oliver said if the man (later identified as Steve) breezed down the Gaza Strip in such a manner, he’d end international conflicts.

Steve, if you’re out there, contact us. We have many questions. You could hear John continue to talk about you for like 10 minutes from within the bathroom, right? There are speakers in there, yeah? Were you wondering how you should act on the way back in? Were you trying to be the smoothest person in North America, or what? Did you talk to John after the show? It was impossible to find you in the crowd. Get in touch.

Other Oliver moments of note:

  • “Thank you for being here tonight and not on the streets, punching each other.”

  • “Is Upper Darby actually part of Philadelphia?” [No.] “[Philadelphia], you just use Upper Darby as your parking lot, don’t you?”

  • Bringing attention to his English-ness: “300 years ago, this would have been a very different gig, especially in Philadelphia. I feel a sense of loss in Philadelphia.”

  • Australia, he says, is the most “comfortably racist" place in the world. But, “Philly would take that as a challenge…[Philadelphians would say], 'drive 10 minutes in any direction in Philly and you’ll take that back.'"

  • Discussing other profoundly American things, he brought up T-shirt cannons, specifically the 76ers’ use of "Big Bertha." He’s done his Philly homework.

And perhaps the most memorable non-Steve moment from his superb set:

  • He assured us that 2015 can’t possibly be any worse than 2014. “We think we have come far in race relations, but it just takes one grand jury verdict to make you see otherwise. Two in a week really hammers the point home.” But, he said, it’s the small, silly things that we have to latch onto to keep our spirits up, like:

  • In the Newark airport once, he said a pigeon had gotten in. It wasn’t flying around, just walking around casually, like it had a plane to catch. That got tons of people in the airport talking, asking one another excitedly if they’d seen the “airport pigeon.” Oliver said, “Is this how close we are to being fundamentally okay? All of us just getting along and happily talking about pigeons?"

Oliver had, as always, raised a very good question.

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