John Oliver

John Oliver Headshot

Satirist • Writer • Host

Birth Date: April 23, 1977

Age: 46 years old

Birth Place: Birmingham, England, UK

British-born entertainer John Oliver is a permanent resident of the United States, but beginning in 2001 he used his status as a national outsider to his advantage, poking fun at American political culture, government and myriad social issues, most notably on the stand-up comedy circuit and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central, 1999-2015) where he proved himself to be one of the most adept political satirists of his generation. He parlayed that into his own comedy news series, "Last Week Tonight" (HBO 2014- ) after successfully replacing Stewart during the latter's sabbatical to direct a film. During the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, many critics and fans considered Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" the worthy heir to Stewart's brand of sharply satirical political comedy, with the added bonus of additional swearing thanks to the show's pay-cable home.

Oliver was born in the Birmingham section of England's West Midlands. Educated at Christ's College Cambridge, he studied English while honing his skill as an actor and comedian with the Cambridge Footlights, a famous amateur theatrical club founded in 1883. Oliver, along with fellow British comedian Richard Ayoade, was featured in the club's revue "Between a Rock and a Hard Place." Oliver graduated from Cambridge in 1998, and in 2001 appeared at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of a late-night comedy showcase of up-and-coming comedians known as "The Comedy Zone." In 2002 he performed his debut solo show there, and in 2004, he and another British comic named Andy Zaltzman joined forces to co-host "Political Animal," a radio show that began at Edinburgh but soon transferred to BBC Radio 4. The show offered the opportunity for various guest comedians to perform their own political material on-air, and was the perfect venue for Oliver to display his own talent for insightful, dry political satire.

In the mid-2000s, no less a comedic giant than Ricky Gervais mentioned Oliver's name to Jon Stewart, host of the irreverent and wildly popular "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Oliver joined the cast as the show's "Senior British Correspondent" in 2006. The years following the reelection of George W. Bush were marked by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the "War on Terror" and the economic aftermath of 9/11, leaving Oliver and his co-writers with many opportunities for clever jabs at the American political system. Having relocated to New York for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Oliver performed his stand-up routine at a number of small clubs in the New York City area. His successes at small venues and visibility on television gave him the opportunity to headline at larger, more prestigious clubs and eventually led to Oliver's televised stand-up special, "John Oliver: Terrifying Times" (Comedy Central, 2008), which was later released on DVD.

In addition to his stand-up career and his work as a political satirist, Oliver took on a number of roles as an actor, beginning in 2008 when he was cast as Dick Pants in the panned Mike Myers vehicle "The Love Guru" (2008). He also played several parts in "Important Things with Demetri Martin" (Comedy Central, 2009-10), a variety-sketch show hosted by oddball comedian Demetri Martin. Oliver's first role on a major network sitcom came with his addition to the "Community" (NBC/Yahoo, 2009-2015) ensemble as recurring character Dr. Ian Duncan, professor of psychology -- although he never officially joined the cast: "it's such a strange situation that I have over there, so I have no idea what's going on." (A.V. Club, July 2012). Beginning in 2010, Oliver hosted a standup showcase entitled "John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show" (Comedy Central, 2010-13), featuring appearances from some of his favorite comedians. He also lent his voice to the character of Vanity Smurf in the critically despised film adaptation of "The Smurfs" (2011) and its sequel "The Smurfs 2" (2013). But Oliver's career reached a new peak when he landed the coveted gig of replacing Jon Stewart as the host of "The Daily Show" for the 2013 summer season. Oliver received overwhelmingly positive reviews for his summer-long hosting stint, with many industry-insiders wondering how long he would stay on as a correspondent after Stewart's return. In the fall of 2013, Oliver put the speculation to rest by announcing that he was leaving "The Daily Show" to host his own weekly comedy series on HBO. "Last Week Tonight" (HBO 2014- ) premiered to critical acclaim in April 2014; during the long run-up to the 2016 presidential election, "Last Week Tonight" became a showcase for Oliver's outsider take on the American political system.

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The Daily Show

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The Daily Show with Trevor NoahStream

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Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs

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The Concert for Valor

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The Men in Blazers Show

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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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Rick and MortyStream

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John Oliver: Terrifying Times

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The Love Guru

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Mock the Week

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News aboutJohn Oliver

John Oliver for 'Last Week Tonight'

‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ Sets Season 11 Return at HBO

Comfort TV Comedy Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ Renewed for 3 More Seasons

Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers

Late Night Shows Return: Dates for Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers & John Oliver

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Noel Fielding - The Great British Baking Show

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Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, John Oliver at 2022 Emmys

John Oliver on Running Into ‘Law & Order’ Stars at Emmys After Slamming Franchise

John Oliver and Dick Wolf

‘Law & Order’ & Dick Wolf Slammed by John Oliver Over Portrayal of Police

John Oliver at 2021 Emmys and Adam Driver at Annette Photo call

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2021 TCA Awards Winners, Jean Smart in 'Hacks,' 'Ted Lasso'

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Opinion: A Thank-You to Late Night Hosts During the COVID-19 Crisis, Featured Image, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah
Opinion

A Thank You to Late-Night Hosts During the Current Crisis

Last Week Tonight John Oliver

HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ & Bill Maher Set Returns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Rita Moreno, 2018 TCA Awards

2018 TCA Awards: FX Tops Wins, Heritage Award to ‘Friends’ & Rita Moreno Honored

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Is ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ Really Ending? (VIDEO)

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John Oliver Slams Sinclair Broadcast Group for Making Anchors Read the Same Script

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TV News Roundup: ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Nightflyer’ Teasers, Oliver Trumps Pence & More

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Tragedy Strikes on ‘Victoria,’ John Oliver’s Back, and So Is Joel McHale (on Netflix), More Winter Olympics

John Oliver attends the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes Event

John Oliver Confronts Dustin Hoffman Over Sexual Misconduct Accusations, Plus His 5 Best ‘Last Week Tonight’ Rants

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‘Last Week Tonight’ Promo Hilariously Teases John Oliver’s Return (VIDEO)

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Emmy Races to Watch: Can the Underdogs Win This Year?

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John Oliver and ‘Sesame Street’ Characters Sing About Lead Poisoning

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John Oliver Says Your Credit Score Might Be Meaningless (VIDEO)

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John Oliver Fans Dressed as a Dinosaur and a Dragon Were Last Night’s Yankees ‘Fans of the Game’

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This Time, John Oliver Sent Sharks and Unicorns to Yankee Stadium

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John Oliver’s First Salvo Against ‘Elitist’ Yankees: Fans Dressed as Ninja Turtles

TV Tattle

John Oliver’s ‘Donald Drumpf’ is Beating Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in Google Searches

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John Oliver Finally Goes After Donald Trump

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John Oliver Takes on Oscars’ Lack of Diversity and Hollywood Whitewashing

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Is ‘Janice From Accounting’ Back? John Oliver on 11 Things You Need To Know About the Return of ‘Last Week Tonight’

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John Oliver Will Stop Ignoring Donald Trump

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John Oliver Celebrates his Harshest Critics in ‘Last Week Tonight’s Season 3 Promo

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John Oliver Goes on an Epic F-Bomb Rant in Response to the Paris Attacks

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Donald Trump Doesn’t Know what John Oliver Looks Like, Accuses Him of Lying

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John Oliver Is Wrong: He Won’t Face Imprisonment for Telling Canadians How to Vote

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John Oliver’s Fake Church Rakes in Thousands of Dollars, Puts the IRS Under Scrutiny

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John Oliver: ‘Jon Stewart Is the Best There Ever Will Be’

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The Late Shift: Who’s Poised to Be the Next King (or Queen) of Nighttime Talk?

John Oliver and Steve Buscemi on Park Bench

John Oliver Tells Steve Buscemi ‘Daily Show’ Was ‘A Real-Life Disneyland’ and Why He’ll Always Owe Jon Stewart

TV Tattle

John Oliver takes on the Confederate Flag

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Ex-FIFA official responds to ‘comedian fool’ John Oliver

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John Oliver keeps FIFA promise, chugs Bud Light Lime on’Last Week Tonight’

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John Oliver is drinking Bud Light Lime in honor of FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s resignation

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John Oliver gets Martin Sheen to Star in a Celebratory Version of CNN’s Doomsday Video

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John Oliver Conducted Probably the Toughest Interview with Edward Snowden

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How John Oliver Paved the Way for Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

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Philip Morris Calls John Oliver’s Tobacco Takedown ‘Embellished in the Spirit of Comedic License’

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HBO Renews Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for Two More Seasons

TV Tattle

Ecuador’s President Takes to Twitter to Complain About John Oliver

TV Tattle

John Oliver will Ignore the 2016 Presidential Election on Last Week Tonight’s 2nd Season