Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Daily Show with John Oliver

Amber and I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart frequently, and as you may be aware, Jon Stewart is taking the summer off to film a documentary. In his place from now until September comes his top correspondent, John Oliver. This is Oliver's third week in the Daily Show host chair; how's he been doing?

In my opinion, the show isn't really any less funny with Oliver delivering the jokes instead of Stewart. The main differences in the humor content of the show with Oliver hosting are: 1) fewer Jewish jokes, 2) more British jokes, and 3) a host who is nowhere near as good at impressions as Jon Stewart. (But I won't hold that last one against him, just as long as he doesn't try to do Lindsey Graham too many more times.) Other than that, the comedic content is basically the same. Stewart gets a lot of the credit, of course, but the show basically belongs to the writers.

That said...here's the thing. It's no secret that The Daily Show is a liberal-leaning show. And, the correspondents (Oliver included) all lean pretty far to the left. But, I consider Jon Stewart to be more of a moderate. (Or at least, a moderate liberal.) He criticizes liberals when they deserve it, and his critcism of conservatives (and his favorite right-leaning news network) actually has some backbone to it. In general, I think Stewart is pretty reasonable, most of the time - keeping in mind that he hosts a comedy show, of course, and that you can't always be reasonable and funny at the same time.

On the other hand, what you usually get from John Oliver and the other correspondents is just "ha ha ha Sarah Palin is so dumb" type stuff, with no real substance to it. It's just the left criticizing the right only for the sake of doing so. And, I don't see John Oliver bringing someone like Chris Wallace or Donald Rumsfeld onto the show for an interview, for instance. Instead, it's mostly just been actors and stuff so far. Oliver has played it very safe with the interviews, and I don't think that's going to change.

What makes The Daily Show great is that it's funny, AND it has substance. Without Jon Stewart, I think you're missing the substance. Now that we're in week three and the novelty of seeing John Oliver in the chair has worn off, I think we're going to try to catch up on some other shows this summer.

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