Hawking, an intellectual giant who became an worldwide symbol the power of the human mind, died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England.
When asked by Oliver why he shouldn't be excited about the prospect of fighting a robot, Hawking replied, "You would lose".
Hawking, who died at his home in Cambridge, England, on Wednesday at age 76, became the public face of science genius.
Over the years, Hawking became one of the most recognized names in contemporary science.
Having dedicated his life to unlocking the secrets of the universe, Prof Hawking stated his greatest wish was for a cure for MND to be found. Hawking also wanted to have his experience serve as inspiration for other people with ALS, a neural disease that results in severe muscle degeneration. That sense of humor was on full display in an interview with HBO's John Oliver, who met Hawking for a segment on "Last Week Tonight" in 2014.
The scientist gained popularity outside the academic world and appeared in several TV shows including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and The Big Bang Theory.
That humor was deployed against a bad prognosis.
My Brief History: A very personal memoir published in 2013 in which Hawking deals among other things with his childhood, his evolution as a thinker and scientist, the impact of his ALS diagnosis and the ways in which the prospect of an early death affected his work.
"The realization that I had an incurable disease that was likely to kill me in a few years was a bit of a shock", he wrote in his memoir.
"I have been wheelchair-bound for nearly four decades and the chance to float free in zero g will be wonderful", Hawking told the press ahead of his flight. The disease usually kills within three to five years. His condition, however, proved to be a rare slow-acting version.
Yet the fact Hawking survived into his 70s is remarkable in its own right.
"No one created the universe and no one directs our fate". "He's certainly an outlier".
Hawking had an enduring fascination with the mysteries of black holes.
"When I turned 21, my expectations were reduced to zero", he said. "Space, here I come".
Manoj Bajpayee: Your life will always be celebrated for the huge contribution you made to the humanity. In the episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain", the scientist told Homer Simpson that his theory of a donut-shaped universe was "intriguing". "I may have to steal it".
"I was so sad to hear that Stephen has died".
He displayed the same wit off-screen.
At his 75th birthday celebration, Hawking said "It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research into theoretical physics".
A previous holder of the prestigious post was the 17th-century British scientist Isaac Newton.
But Hawking defied the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years, pursuing a brilliant career that stunned doctors and thrilled his fans.