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John Oliver on Red Lobster, Deisings Cake Bear

John Oliver on Red Lobster, Deisings Cake Bear

John Oliver really wants his face on a cake.

And not just any cake. A bear-shaped cake. And not just from any bakery. Specifically, Deisings Bakery & Restaurant in Kingston, New York.

Let’s back up a week: On the June 2 episode of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, Oliver announced that the show had bought the contents of a Red Lobster restaurant in Kingston amid the company’s recent bankruptcy filing. They rebuilt the restaurant inside his studio and served only the Cheddar Bay biscuits, which the restaurant is known for.

It turns out, Eric Deising, the owner of Deisings, had his eye on that equipment. He taped a note to the front door of the Red Lobster asking if he could buy some of the equipment.

“I need a 36-inch flat grill/oven and a commercial kitchen convection oven if you have them,” he wrote, according to Westchester’s News 12.

“I got into this because I was looking for a piece of equipment,” Deising told News 12. “If you don’t need that — because I don’t think you need it for biscuits — let me know,” he added, addressing Oliver.

Replied Oliver: “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. 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?’”

During the news segment, Deising was shown watching Last Week Tonight on his cell phone, and the HBO host took the opportunity to make a joke about his own show. “I do love that he’s watching our show the same way everyone else does — on a phone in the middle of a work day without even a hint of enjoyment on his face,” he joked.

He went on to note that a spokesperson for the neighboring town of Ulster also was none too pleased with him.

“If he bought everything from the Kingston location, he has nothing because the Red Lobster is in the Town of Ulster,” a spokesperson for the Ulster town supervisor told News 12.

Oliver’s response: “Let me just say I sincerely apologize, although in my defense I’m not the only one who thought that Red Lobster was in Kingston because you know who else did? Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, Red Lobster’s own website and even, by the way, the Ulster County tourism website. Still, I do apologize. I certainly wouldn’t want to take the great honor of having a closed-down Red Lobster away from you.”

Oliver also noted that the local news pointed out his history of “fights” with various entities including the town of Danbury, Connecticut, which ultimately resulted in a sewage plant being named after him. The local news reporter insinuated that the Danbury fight was fake.

“OK, first, that wasn’t a fake fight,” Oliver protested. That was the realest fight of my life. Also, I started that fight with Danbury in the middle of the pandemic, and it was a very weird time. Some of us got into cross-stitch. Some got into Animal Crossing. And yes, some of us picked a fight with a Connecticut town, eventually showing up there wearing the hazmat suit from Contagion to dedicate a sewage plant in our memory, though, it is worth pointing out during lockdown I also bought a rat erotica painting from 1992, sponsored a marble racing league and sexually harassed Adam Driver for eight solid months.” (Yes, he really did all that). “So fighting with Danbury might actually have been the fourth-weirdest thing I did during the pandemic.”

Oliver added that he was planning to ignore “all of this” until he saw the positive reviews of Deisings’ products, including themed baked goods for holidays like Groundhog Day and St. Patrick’s Day. The review that really caught his attention, though, was one containing a photo of the bakery’s cake-shaped bears.

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“I’ve got good news and bad news for you,” he said, addressing the bakery’s owner. “The bad news is we actually already donated the Red Lobster kitchen equipment. And even if we hadn’t, it didn’t have the 36-inch flat-top oven slash grill or kitchen convection oven that you were looking for. The good news is, though, we’re willing to buy those items for you on one condition. All I want in return is a baked good with my face on it on sale in your bakery, specifically a cake bear with my face on it. I wanna be a cake bear.”

Adding that he would prefer if the cake had a decent-sized tush, much like the bear-shaped cake, Oliver then said he really wouldn’t be picky with how it looked.

“I trust your vision. 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.”

He held up a handwritten note reading, “We have the equipment you’re looking for,” along with an email address to contact.

“So what do you say,” he continued. “Please say yes. Please do say yes because we’ve already bought the equipment. It is right here waiting to be delivered to you,” he said, walking from his desk to show two pieces of cooking equipment with big red bows attached to them.

“Just look at this convection oven,” he said. “It’s raring to do some convecting. All you have to do is simply start selling John Oliver Cake Bears. And all of this is yours. The bear is in your court, Deisings Bakery. … Make me a cake bear. I want to be a cake bear.”

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