For the first time in over a decade, Jon Stewart is stepping away from the anchor desk on Comedy Channel’s fake news program, “The Daily Show.”
He’ll be back in the fall, but his summer replacement made his big debut Monday night.
“The Daily Show” has won so many Emmys in a row – ten in fact – that it’s become a running gag on every Emmy show. So it’s a pretty big deal that Stewart is taking the entire summer off.
But I think the show’s in good hands with the 36-year-old British comedian, John Oliver – who’s been playing a fake correspondent on the show for seven years.
Oliver started off admitting that this new arrangement was weird. He said he felt weird and he was sure his TV audience felt weird too.
Once he got that off his chest, he then talked about his utter exasperation at the news of the day. Why? Because there was some, and he didn’t want there to be. He says Stewart assured him no big news stories ever happen over the summer, so he could just relax and do some good ol’ standard “Hey, I’m British” jokes. Instead, the NSA story exploded on his watch – taking up the rest of his first segment.
After the first commercial break, the anchor traditionally throws to their fake correspondents in the field. Last night, the reporters did stand-ups from fake Hong Kong, fake Google headquarters, and a fake NSA servers farm. But instead of reporting, all the correspondents berated Oliver for getting the hosting gig.
Samantha Bee adopted a terrible British accent to complain about being leapfrogged by a foreigner.
Jason Jones complained about how loyalty and seniority means nothing anymore.
Jessica Williams talked about how she keeps bumping her head on a glass ceiling.
And Aasif Mandvi reported that Buzzfeed had already posted 27 mistakes Oliver had made in only the first six minutes of the show.
Oliver’s interview of actor/director Seth Rogen didn’t go very smoothly – there were a lot of bleeped out jokes, but then it took Stewart a long time to perfect the celebrity interview too, so I’ll give Oliver a pass on that.
All in all, Oliver is no Jon Stewart. He doesn’t have Stewart’s laid-back charm. But like Stephen Colbert before him, Oliver has the comedy chops to pull this off. Besides, “The Daily Show” is so smart and so well-written, there will always be a safety net to catch him if he falls.
And Oliver should be perfect when the Royal Baby shows up sometime this summer.