John Oliver, we salute you.
It must’ve been daunting, filling in as the host of The Daily Show while Jon Stewart took the summer off to direct a movie. After all, Stewart is a huge reason for his show’s success: He’s the Walter Cronkite of fake news, a wry reason to flip to Comedy Central at 11/10c four nights a week. Would his faithful audience accept a long-term sub?
Thankfully, the current-affairs gods smiled upon you, bestowing such laugh-rich news events as Prince George’s royal birth and the scandal surrounding New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, aka the gift that never stops sexting.
You not only took the comedy ball, you ran with it, bent it like Beckham and even referred to “football” as “soccer” once or twice, proving what a good sport you are.
So on the occasion of your last broadcast as interim Daily Show anchor, we’ve selected our five favorite bits — with video — from the Summer of Oliver. Let’s begin with:
STEALING STEWART’S FINAL MOMENT OF ZEN | As Stewart wished his audience a heartfelt goodbye in June, Oliver boorishly began measuring the anchor desk in preparation for his first day as host. “Oh wow. You’re still here. Looks like we have us an awkward situation on our hands,” the Brit said, but he didn’t let that stop him from horning in on Stewart’s last toss to the Moment of Zen. The look on the departing anchor’s face when they come back after the pen incident was perfection.
Press PLAY to watch “Moment of Zen,” then scroll down.
FIRST DAY AS THE BIG GUY | Stewart was “barely out the door,” as Oliver noted in his first broadcast behind the desk, when the NSA wiretapping scandal broke. But that news event didn’t stop correspondents Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Al Madrigal and Aasif Mandvi from offering their real feelings about their colleagues’ sudden promotion – in the process giving Oliver a chance to show off his skill at playing the straight man. (
And thanks to Buzzfeed for not actually trying to make “The 27 Worst Moments of John Oliver’s First Six Minutes” into a real post. UPDATE: I stand corrected.)
Press PLAY to watch “Good News: You’re Not Paranoid,” then scroll down.
WEINER WATCH 2013 | We’ve already waxed appreciative about Oliver’s coverage of “An-tonny” Weiner and his various improprieties, but it bears repeating: The comedian and the Daily Show writing staff are never better than when they’re mocking something they genuinely do not understand and/or support. Plus, they’re not above a lowbrow sight gag and a silly shimmy, which makes us love them all the more.
Press PLAY to watch “Between a C–k and a Hard Place,” then scroll down.
BABY BLITZ | Is it just us, or did having an actual royal subject reporting Prince George’s birth make the show’s coverage of the media frenzy abroad even better? Highlights: Madrigal as the town crier, Oliver’s disbelief over the horse in the pub, a moratorium on the phrase “the queen’s gynecologist” and this line: “Honestly, if I wanted to see a picture of someone else’s baby that I don’t care about, that is what Facebook is for.”
Press PLAY to watch “On Her Majesty’s Secret Cervix,” then scroll down.
‘FRISKY’ FINISH | Oliver’s last week in the chair included a pointed takedown of New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which was revealed as ineffective and discriminatory. “It’s basically like catch-and-release fishing, except you get to feel the fish up and shout at it a bit before throwing it back. Also, almost all the fish are brown,” Oliver noted. His sharp musings on the law-enforcement practice became a drop-the-mic moment… followed by his actually dropping a mic, just for good measure.
Press PLAY to watch “Frisky Business,” then hit the comments: What were your favorite moments from Oliver’s Daily Show episodes?