John Oliver has spent most of his career in the long shadow of Jon Stewart, playing a sort of daffy, British foil for Stewart’s satire. Of all of The Daily Show’s correspondents, he was not the most obvious pick to fill the host spot during Stewart’s 2013 sabbatical, but he turned in a run for the ages, which prompted HBO to offer him a gig hosting a show on their channel.
That show, Last Week Tonight, is entering its second season after getting plenty of attention for its first. Unlike Comedy Central’s news offerings, it’s far less interested in the day’s headlines than with the back pages. Oliver takes on smaller, justice-oriented issues—corruption in scholarship programs, unfairness in immigration and racism in the prison system.
Stewart and Colbert have largely gotten famous by preaching to the choir. Oliver is finding issues that don’t have much of a choir to be preached to yet, but given the popularity of his YouTube channel (his most popular uploads have upward of 8 million hits), that may be about to change.
(Warning: some foul language in video)