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Review: 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver'

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 28, 2014 11:45 AM
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Just because John Oliver was so brilliant sitting in for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, that doesn't mean he should have cloned it for his HBO series, Last Week Tonight.

John Oliver Plays 'Where in the World is Edward Snowden?' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 25, 2013 10:45 AM
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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' Visits Sorkin's 'Newsroom' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 15, 2013 12:54 PM
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Jon Stewart and the cast of The Daily Show are fond of saying they’re pretend journalists, even though they often do a better job of delivering actual news stories than the circus that is CNN. In this segment about the loss of investigative journalism -- too expensive, too ratings-challenged – John Oliver interviews Kaj Larsen, a victim of CNN cutbacks; reminds us of the time that Jessica Yellin was a hologram (and really, I don’t blame her for that news-meets-Star-Trek moment), and visits Will McAvoy -- or is it Jeff Daniels? -- in a really fictional newsroom.

Jon Stewart on The Big Bird Wars

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 9, 2012 10:53 AM
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Who would have thought that the possible firing of Big Bird would become a topic of national debate? (Yes, it sometimes takes threatening a puppet to create a political uproar.) After Mitt Romney’s threat to cut funding for PBS, Jon Stewart took a closer look at how Sesame Street is “indoctrinating our children,” as some right-wing-nuts have claimed. Teaching kids to share? That’s just a recipe for social dependency.

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