Turns out The Daily Show’s fans weren’t the only ones thinking, “That guy should really have his own show” when the Comedy Central hit’s droll correspondent John Oliver aced his guest-hosting stint last summer, sitting in for Jon Stewart while Stewart directed his first film. Not long after, HBO offered the witty Brit his own weekly news-satire series.
Airing late-night on Sundays, Last Week Tonight With John will feature the Emmy-winning writer and sometime standup comic (who also appears as Professor Ian Duncan on NBC’s Community) skewering the previous week’s news highlights and political water cooler moments in trademark Oliver fashion.
An example: Asked at a recent press conference about his current dual-country status, Oliver cracked, “I’m a green card recipient, which means I can’t vote and I am taxed. So that IS taxation without representation … and now I get why you got so pissy about it all those years ago.”
Tim Carvell, The Daily Show’s longtime head writer and co-executive producer, will join Oliver at Last Week Tonight, which Oliver says differs from Daily by virtue of its weekly nature. “We have more time,” he explains, “so that comes with opportunity and pressure, because on a daily show — whatever that is — it’s about volume. It’s about churning out shows and being reactive in the moment. We’ll have a chance to take one step back. And I hope we’ll make a virtue of that.”
And, of course, plenty of comedy. The show’s own ads tout it as “breaking news … on a weekly basis” and feature a dramatic announcer boasting, “If a government collapses on a Monday …” with Oliver finishing his sentence “… we will cover it on Sunday.” Announcer: “If the stock market collapses on a Wednesday … .” Oliver: “… again. Sunday.”
The Sunday time slot also means that Oliver won’t compete for viewers with the guys who brought him to the late-night satire dance. “Jon Stewart has kind of ushered in a golden age of it, and he spawned Stephen Colbert,” Oliver says. “That’s not an image that I was ideally going to land on, but that has, in turn, spawned me. So that’s a triple spawn there!”
And yes, Oliver has Stewart’s blessing.
“I ask his advice on anything,” Oliver says. “He has been invaluable over the last seven and a half years of my life in almost everything, so I talked to him about this decision, and he’s been amazing. As a comedian, I’m almost allergic to sincerity — but he has been incredible.”
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver airs Sundays beginning April 27 on HBO