During the reassuringly funny Jon Oliver era at The Daily Show, the substitute host has begun every night by telling us why Jon Stewart isn't around. Last night Oliver explained Stewart "is currently in Moscow, or Ecuador, or on a flight somewhere or has escaped from the National Zoo -- we don't know." That intro set up a later segment tracing not leaky Edward Snowden's travels, but the U.S. ineptitude in getting him back -- Oliver imitated a sad former boyfriend trying to call Hong Kong -- and the television coverage that has been almost entirely based on filling time with maybes. His commonsensical yet outraged response: if you don't know where he is, stop guessing!
The Daily Show has found an ideal balance with its sub, the same yet different: same direction from the writers, refreshed by coming out of Oliver's mouth with a British accent and a touch of manic energy. Take a look at Oliver, very comfortable in one of the show's most important zones: hilariously, true media criticism.