is the recent ubiquity of John Oliver. Is it just me, or is he ALL OVER the Daily Show these days? He also had an HBO special in late April, and he’ll be in the new (and… terrible?) Mike Myers movie this summer.
Unlike the rest of the Daily Show writers, Oliver didn’t spend the last few months on strike. As a foreign national (I think he’s Canadian, or something? Maybe Dutch?) in America on a work visa, he’s not a allowed to strike. You’ve got to imagine that he made the best of the opportunity. If Studio 60 on the Sunet Strip taught me anything – well, it’s that Aaron Sorkin can no longer be trusted with a high-profile assignment. But if it’s taught me anything else, it’s that the writers’ room of a comedy show is a Machiavellian snakepit where the constant struggle for screen time and face time is the cruelest sort of zero-sum game. Having all of your competition hors de combat for a few months certainly isn’t going to do any harm.
Some of Oliver’s success is just be because he’s a funny guy. The Mike Myers thing was probably lined up long before the strike. And we’ve seen this kind of abrupt push behind a relatively untried Daily Show correspondent before. (Dimitri Martin, anyone?) But the timing is a bit suspicious. Even if the strike hasdnothing to do with it, I wonder if the more experienced Comedy Central also-rans are giving Oliver the old shoulder-bump when they pass him in the hallway.