If last night was the first time you ever watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – we’re making believe, ok?! – you would’ve simply assumed that Jon Stewart was a 35 year-old British dude. But what did you expect? Oliver has been nothing but brilliant through his five-plus years as a correspondent on the critically acclaimed show. There were no blunders, no awkward moments, nothing that would’ve raised eyebrows.
Nonetheless, Oliver had to play the part of self-effacing temporary host as his mentor is in the Middle East directing his first movie. “Let’s just all acknowledge for a moment that this is weird,” Oliver said at the top of the show. “It looks weird. It feels weird. It even sounds weird. It sounds weird to me and this is my actual voice.”
But, really, there was nothing weird about what was happening.
The lively intro made way for Oliver’s faux-chagrin over the fact that his first day behind the desk wasn’t going to play out with a series of easy jokes about his country of origin (cue: a lighting round of jokes about his country of origin). Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed the NSA’s wiretapping scandal, made sure that last night’s show, however, had plenty of substantive laughs. In fact, Oliver introduced a new segment called Good News! You’re Not Paranoid. It was half standard Daily Show fare and half John Oliver-bashing via his fellow correspondents, all of whom were not pleased with being passed over for the temp host gig themselves.
Jason Jones’ profanity-laced tirade was first, followed by Samantha Bee, who mocked Oliver’s accent mercilessly and called him a “godforsaken foreigner.” Newcomer Jessica Williams blamed the glass ceiling for Oliver’s new post while Al Madrigal (in “Hong Kong”) urged Oliver to quite literally fuck himself. Not to be outdone, Aasif Mandvi assured Oliver, that despite being on-air for only six minutes, he was, in fact, doing a terrible job. For good measure, Mandvi created the hashtag #JohnOliverBlewAGreatDane.
Oliver’s interview with Seth Rogen wasn’t as strong as the rest of the episode, but was good for a few laughs. Oliver heavily relied on profusely complementing This is the End, the movie Rogen was promoting. Oliver was even relieved of a few seconds of asking questions thanks to a pre-taped sketch with Rogen. It was the perfect way to ease Oliver – who has never interviewed actors – into the process. And really, Stewart’s interviews with actors and celebrities (unless they’re friends of his), usually come off pretty weak.
Tonight’s guest is Armando Iannucci, creator of HBO’s political satire Veep. I’m very much looking forward to it as well as the rest of the summer. If you missed last night’s episode or just want to check it out again, you can watch it here.