British-born funnyman John Oliver proved himself a worthy substitute for Jon Stewart when he made his debut Monday night as Stewart’s summer replacement on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show”.
It certainly helped that Oliver, 36, is already a regular contributor to “The Daily Show,” and that he, like Stewart, is backed by the most critically acclaimed and Emmy-awarded writing staff in late-night TV.
Thus, other than Oliver’s British accent, it could just as easily have been Stewart commenting on the news that the U.S. government is collecting data on the phone calls and Internet use of millions of Americans.
That was the top story on “The Daily Show” on Monday — something Oliver joked about at the outset of the show when he quoted Stewart as saying Oliver shouldn’t worry about hosting “The Daily Show” during the summer because no big news ever occurs then.
And that was when Oliver introduced the surveillance story and comically tore up a “note” he said Stewart left for him.
Later in the show, Oliver introduced various “Daily Show” correspondents who were “on-location” for their reports on the surveillance scandal, but instead, they aired their grievances about Oliver getting the substitute job they all coveted.
Critics praised Oliver. “[Oliver] did an excellent job on Monday night,” enthused The (UK) Guardian.
“Oliver’s self-deprecating British humor certainly worked for him at the beginning of his ‘Daily Show’ hosting debut,” wrote Entertainment Weekly.