John Oliver, the British comedian who wowed audiences when he filled in for Jon Stewart, The Daily Show presenter, has now been rewarded with his own weekly US satirical show.
The Birmingham-born comic will quit The Daily Show, where he found fame as Stewart’s sidekick, to front his own show on HBO.
Oliver, who became The Daily Show’s “senior British correspondent” in 2006, won plaudits when he took over from Stewart for three months this summer, when the host was away directing a film.
Oliver, 36, is the latest British comic to be snapped up by HBO, the US cable network which has previously developed shows with Sacha Baron Cohen, Armando Iannucci and Stephen Merchant.
Oliver’s show, described as “a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events”, starts next year.
He said: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining HBO, especially as I presume this means I get free HBO now. I want to thank Comedy Central, and everyone at The Daily Show for the best seven and a half years of my life.
“But most of all, I’d like to thank Jon Stewart. He taught me everything I know. In fact, if I fail in the future, it’s entirely his fault.”
Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, said: “We weren't otherwise searching for another weekly talk show, but when we saw John Oliver handling host duties on The Daily Show we knew that his singular perspective and distinct voice belonged on HBO. We are extremely excited that John has agreed to make HBO his home.”
Oliver had received a number of offers to present his own series after his summer success on the Comedy Central show. HBO said his new show would air on Sundays, its feature night for original programming.
A contemporary of David Mitchell in the Cambridge Footlights troupe, Oliver first came to public attention in the UK as a stand-up comedian on the festival circuit.
He currently has a recurring role on NBC’s cult comedy Community as a psychology professor, as well as hosting a stand-up series on Comedy Central.
He and long-time collaborator Andy Zaltzman co-write the weekly satirical podcast The Bugle.
Oliver believes he got the call from The Daily Show following a recommendation from Ricky Gervais. His persona, which he described as a “monstrous asshole”, is often dispatched on field trips and interview assignments to satirise the stories of the day.
He regularly pokes fun at his country of birth. During his Daily Show hosting stint, he considered the reaction of hyperbolic Royal commentators if the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to a girl instead of a boy. “Damnation upon your cursed womb, Catherine! Burn the princess for she has produced a baby of the weaker sex!”
Oliver had been touted as a future host of The Daily Show, whenever Stewart decides to quit, following the positive audience reaction to his performance as substitute presenter. But his departure is a blow to the Comedy Central series, which must now discover a replacement sidekick.
The Daily Show has previously launched the careers of political satirist Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, the comedy actor.
Funny Brits in the US
Sacha Baron Cohen
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Failed attempts to translate The Thick Of It to US networks eventually spawned Emmy-winning paydirt with Veep, the HBO sitcom starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which replicates the Beltway knowledge and acerbic wit of its UK precursor.