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Caryn James

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.

Watch Jehane Noujaim, Director of 'The Square,' on 'The Daily Show'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 5, 2013 11:41 AM
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Netflix is releasing Jehane Noujaim's taut , smart, timely film The Square in January, but as she told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night, the film still cannot be shown in Egypt.

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.

The Republican Convention: Colbert and Stewart On Star Wars, Rain Man and Reince Priebus

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 30, 2012 11:23 AM
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Each night during the Republican Convention, The Colbert Report has started with an intro that parodies Star Wars, as words scroll into space to introduce the coverage from Tampa: America Strikes Back. Last night’s legend included this:

Robert Pattinson Visits The Daily Show, Gets Comfort Food

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 14, 2012 12:31 PM
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I would love to read a behind-the-scenes account of the pr strategies and manipulations behind the Robert Pattinson  - Kristen Stewart scandale and breakup.  Who advised Stewart to get ahead of the damage by issuing her profoundly weird public apology? And the flood of information from all those sources supposedly close to Pattinson who said he was heartbroken? Wild guesses and logic at work? Or strategic leaks? The old adage “Those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know” has been updated with a new option: friends who leak exactly the message the main players want out there.

Will Ferrell Reduced To Tears By Stewart-Pattinson Breakup

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 3, 2012 11:24 AM
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Will Ferrell continues his hilarious promotional tour for The Campaign with this topical but non-Campaign-centered bit on Conan. “She goes by K Stew,” may be all you need to know about his weeping reaction to that high-profile breakup. While the rest of the world hand-wrings about things we can’t possibly know – like what is Rob thinking? -- Ferrell sends up the entire celeb-obsessed hysteria.

Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jon Hamm Campaign Against Lame Interviews

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 27, 2012 1:28 PM
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Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jon Hamm came together last night to fight a serious cultural blight: lame interview questions. How much longer should we have to endure actors swearing that they had the most fun ever making the movie, or directors who insist that every member of the cast was absolutely the first, dream choice? Please! Promoting their new film, 'The Campaign,' Ferrell and Galifianakis clearly have had enough.  Along with guest Jon Hamm, they staged an intervention and challenged Jon Stewart to stop the lazy questions. We are all grateful. (Although in real life Stewart is obviously not a major offender.)

Jon Stewart and the Perils of 'Firstiness'

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 29, 2012 10:11 AM
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Jon Stewart added a brilliant new word to the vocabulary of media criticism yesterday: firstiness. Looking over the ludicrous flub in which first CNN and then Fox mistakenly reported that the Supreme Court had struck down the essence of the Obama health care plan – instead of, whoops, the opposite – Stewart mocked the crazed rush to be the first network to arrive with news that everyone knew was coming and all the reporters got at the same time. Asking, “Who would emerge from today’s chaos as the world’s grand champion of firstiness?” Stewart almost buried a word that is the perfect companion to Stephen Colbert’s classic, “truthiness.” Both allude to the slippery relationship between words and facts.

Steve Carell, Fake-Author of Many Books, Visits Jon Stewart

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 21, 2012 12:25 PM
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What has Steve Carell been doing besides trying to avoid the apocalypse? Promoting his new film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (it’s a charming romance; you can check out my review here) he joined Jon Stewart to promote the many new books he has written, including a history of Egypt post-Mubarak and a biography of himself as written by Steve Jobs.

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