Title: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Host: John Oliver
Producer: Liz Stanton
Format: Thirty minute weekly talk show
Broadcast information: Broadcast on HBO Sundays at 11 p.m.
Production company: Avalon Television
Distributor: Home Box Office
Former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver quietly debuted his new talk show, Last Week Tonight, on April 27.
Quietly because the debut came amidst a small avalanche of late night talk show news, including the retirement of David Letterman, the announcement that former Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert would take his place, the eventual end of Colbert’s The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert and, the day after his debut, the news that Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson host Craig Ferguson would also hang up his late night hosting duties.
Quietly, too, because many believed Oliver would either land the Late Show or Late Late Show gig. Instead, Oliver took on late night at cable network HBO, starring in a weekly talker airing late on Sunday nights.
No worries for Oliver, who told the New York Daily News that he accepted the job at HBO at the advice of friend and host Jon Stewart. The cable venue, which doesn’t include advertisers or their influence, allows Oliver full creative freedom and a lack of censors – cursing is allowed and Oliver is all in.
In many ways, his show is a lot like The Daily Show. The half-hour program and its host spin their take on the weekly news and invites notable and newsworthy guests to sit down and talk about the issues. Oliver’s first guest, for example, was Gen. Keith Alexander (Ret.), formerly director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command.
Early reviews for Oliver’s debut were mixed. Most complaints centered around Oliver’s strong opinions, which reviewers were fine with, but felt overpowered the program’s comedy. Many reviewers compared the show against Oliver’s experience steering The Daily Show when Jon Stewart took time off to direct a feature film in the summer of 2021. They felt Oliver delivered the news with a lighter touch than his first Last Week Tonight.
A little bit about Oliver
Born in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Oliver attended Christ’s College in Cambridge. He was vice-president of the Cambridge Footlights, a well-known amateur theatrical group that has spawned comedic heavyweights like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams and Monty Python alumni John Cleese and Eric Idle.
Fans of Oliver also enjoy his recurring role on the always-about-to-be-cancelled cult sitcom Community, as well as his stand-up specials on Comedy Central.