John Oliver convinced bakery to put his face on bear cakes in exchange for ovens


Bear with me for a moment (that turn of phrase is going to be hilarious in a minute) while I set the scene for John Oliver’s latest shenanigan. Last week on Last Week Tonight, Oliver ended the show by announcing — and displaying on set — that he had bought at auction the entire furnishings of a recently-closed Red Lobster in upstate New York. This week on Last Week Tonight, Oliver had an unexpected follow up. Turns out a bakery neighbor of the dearly departed Red Lobster had been hoping to snag their equipment, and had lamented to local news about Oliver swooping in to purchase all the wares. So Oliver issued a counteroffer: put my face on your bear-shaped cakes, and you can have your ovens. Guess whose face is now on several dozen bear cakes?!

The bakery had asked for the ovens via a handwritten note taped to Red Lobster’s door: On his show Sunday, Oliver joked about how Deising’s Bakery and Restaurant owner Eric Deising had asked the restaurant for a 36-inch flat grill/oven and a commercial kitchen convection oven. “OK, first, with all due respect, if you wanted equipment from that Red Lobster, leaving a note on the door is a weird way to get it,” Oliver said, per the Hollywood Reporter. “The restaurant just closed down. It’s like going to a cemetery and leaving a note on a tombstone that says, ‘Hey, can I have your socks?’”

‘I want to be a cake bear’: [Oliver] said the show had already donated the Red Lobster equipment — but he would provide replacements if there was a “baked good with my face on it on sale in your bakery, specifically a cake bear with my face on it. … As long as it fits the general description of ‘John Oliver Cake Bear,’ I’ll be more than happy,” he said. “So that is my offer. And because I know that the normal way of asking for things isn’t really your style, I’ve written this offer on a piece of paper like this that is currently taped to the door of your bakery.” “Please do say yes because we’ve already bought the equipment. It is right here waiting to be delivered to you,” Oliver said, revealing the equipment, with red bows tied around it. “The bear is in your court, Deising’s Bakery,” he said. “Make me a cake bear. I want to be a cake bear.”

The cakes sold out the first day, will be available all week: The bakery accepted the challenge, creating an Oliver cake, along with Oliver cupcakes that sold out on Monday, the Daily Freeman reports. “I was so pleasantly surprised to come in this morning with this lovely note on the door,” said Peter Deising, the owner’s son. In a Facebook post, the bakery said mini Oliver cake bears will be sold all week, with the proceeds going to a local food pantry.

[From Newser]

This man (and his show) giveth and giveth and giveth to global mirth-by-way-of-mischief, and I am so here for it! Just to underscore the point, Last Week Tonight had already donated all their Red Lobster equipment — and Oliver said the two ovens the bakery wanted weren’t part of the inventory, anyway — so they went out and bought two shiny, brand new ovens to give away. In exchange for John Oliver-visaged bear cakes. It’s a win for the bakery, and a win for the world! And good on the bakery for donating the Oliver Bear proceeds to a local food pantry. (Sidenote: I know Oliver has a tense relationship with the HBO lawyers, but what do the accountants say?! Can you imagine the meetings going over all the line items?)

It took Deising’s Bakery less than a day from the episode airing to the creation of those chocolate, decadent, rubenesque bear cakes, and there are so many artistic choices they made that impressed me. I have to admit, when Oliver first threw down the challenge, in my head I started imagining a caricature of his features rendered in frosting. I wasn’t expecting they’d go the route of an actual (and edible, I presume!) photo of his face. But then, the nose. The frosting button nose they dolloped on his mug, I mean come ON! Diesing’s is proudly showing off their superb confections online, including a snap of a baker holding the handwritten note Oliver’s team left for them. I implore you all to zoom in on that image to read the email address listed. IYKYK.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos credit: Instagram/Deisings Bakery and somethingness_ and Getty

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22 Responses to “John Oliver convinced bakery to put his face on bear cakes in exchange for ovens”

  1. BeyondTheFringe says:

    If Jack Black is Dionysus taking a stroll thru humanity as some say, then John Oliver is definitely a trickster god like Anansi or the Monkey King. And we’re luckier for it.

    • Lynn says:

      Perfect comment. This is a perfect comment. BeyondTheFringe, you are wise.

    • Royal Donwnfall Watcher says:

      This is philosophy. This is perfection. This is so accurate. Well done Beyondthefringe!

    • PotatoPuff says:

      Kaiser’s post and BeyondTheFringe’s comment are the ultimate tag-team today!

      “rubenesque bear cakes”

      “The frosting button nose they dolloped on his mug”

      Literally worthy of John Oliver himself <3

    • FlamingHotCheetos2021 says:

      I mean, if we’re sticking with the Greek pantheon then Oliver is Hermes. Messenger of the Gods, Protector of mortal heralds and messengers (which could be interpreted as journalists), God of cunning, language, oratory, wit, and messages, and divine trickster.

      According to Wikipedia, “Sacrifices to Hermes involved honey, cakes, pigs, goats, and lambs.”.

  2. Nanea says:

    JO’S kindness, quirkiness and his will to do good is almost unBEARable.

    In a world of MAGAts, Tories, and other far right, be a John Oliver.
    🧸🧁🙏🏽

  3. Digital Unicorn says:

    I love this and while I don’t know much about him he sounds like a great guy.

    More of the baker’s son modelling the cakes please!!!

  4. Hypocrisy says:

    I love this.. thank you for the morning laugh over coffee 🤣☕️.

  5. TQ says:

    OMG, I beary, beary, beary much love this! 😂 John Oliver is a gem for the greater good!

  6. Jay says:

    I love John Oliver. That is all.

  7. bettyrose says:

    Is this about us choosing the bear? I don’t get it. I admit I haven’t been watching his show. I know I know. I love his accent and crushed on him a bit in the Daily Show years, but I’m overwhelmed with media content and have a very short attention span when there’s no dark, shadowy murder plot.

    • Dutch says:

      One of the bakery’s signature creations is the bear shaped cake. So Oliver wanted a signature creation to be made in his image.

  8. Dutch says:

    “I know Oliver has a tense relationship with the HBO lawyers, but what do the accountants say?!”

    Since the show debuted, Oliver has reveled in spending “business daddy’s” money in the most strange and charitable ways imaginable. This was another Tuesday for the HBO accountants and the Last Week Tonight books.

  9. North of Boston says:

    Diesing’s Bakery!

    I visited there years ago during a few trips to visit friends who lived in the area. Their stuff was So o o good!

    (They had a loop they did for local shopping: Deisings for baked goods, Schnellers for meats and some really good beer/wine place)

    What’s a little scary is that I only stayed in that area twice, for no more than 3-4 days at a time, but somehow, this jingle popped into my head as soon as I saw the name:

    Deisings Bak-er-y! The next best thing to home!

  10. Aidee Kay says:

    Genius and hilarious.

  11. Jenniferneedsalaughduringthesetimes says:

    Thanks for the JO bear cakes, NC balls, and Wonka content! More please, it’s fantastic!

  12. LarkspurLM says:

    This is great news! JO is a delight. Looks like he got extra junk in the bear’s trunk, as requested.

    BTW – more attention needs to be placed on the deep-sea mining!! Susan Casey (author) discusses this and it will be catastrophic to the environment!!

  13. Ellie says:

    Looks horrifying, I love it. Please let me know once they’re able to ship to Hawaii.

  14. Eden75 says:

    I love love love John Oliver.

    I wish I was closer so I could buy an Oliver Bear cake! This is fantastic.

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