John Oliver Leaving The Daily Show


I guess at some point people have to leave the nest, but I was still surprised yesterday afternoon when I saw that John Oliver was leaving The Daily Show for his own show on HBO. I actually fact checked the story in several different sources to make sure that it was in fact true and that it wasn’t just some crazy rumor or story from The Onion. But it all checked out and Oliver will depart sometime in 2014.

Now of course this isn’t the first time that correspondents from The Daily Show have spread their wings and gone off to other endeavors. In fact, the roster of former correspondents of the show is pretty darn impressive. Most people know that Stephen Colbert started on The Daily Show before spinning off to host his own very successful show on Comedy Central and Steve Carell is arguable the most famous alumni that the show has ever produced. Ed Helms, Rob Coddry, Rob Riggle, Olivia Munn and Jeff Ross also did time on the show before moving on to other projects (Spiltsider has a roundup of what former correspondents are up to these days).  So The Daily Show has had its fair share of turnover during its run; some people even forget that The Daily Show existed before Jon Stewart. Originally hosted by Craig Kilborn, the show had a very different vibe to it and did less pointed political criticism. The only real holdover from the Kilborn era is the “Your Moment of Zen” segment, which has ended almost every episode of the show since the very beginning.

So The Daily Show has clearly demonstrated that it can adjust to staff departures and other changes. Correspondents that leave the show are not necessarily “pulling a Caruso” by jumping off a popular program; many go on to have long and successful careers after they leave The Daily Show. But the John Oliver departure feels a little different and raises more interesting questions.

I had always assumed that after John Oliver filled in for Jon Stewart this summer that Oliver was now the heir apparent for eventually taking over the show. The Daily Show had never turned the reigns over to a guest host before and Oliver did a beautiful job of keeping the show rolling while Stewart was off directing a movie. The fact that the ratings didn’t dip with the temporary changing of the guard is a credit to Oliver; I personally got to see him live and in action doing the show and I thought that he did a tremendous job in the host’s chair. I don’t know how long Stewart plans to host – he’s certainly not an old guy – but I thought that Oliver’s success meant that he would take over at some point. The uncertainty of that possibility may have been a big factor in deciding to move on; when you are ambitious and waiting in the wings, it is extremely frustrating to have no idea when you’ll get a permanent spot in the limelight. Establishing and hosting your own show is a tricky endeavor, but it will be Oliver’s show, rather than Stewart’s, which may make it a more attractive option. So I understand why Oliver is making this move, even if it means starting over at a different network. The fact that he’s leaving Comedy Central is a bit surprising; I would have expected that if he was leaving The Daily Show for his own show it would have been on the same network (similar to Colbert). Oliver has a long standing relationship with Comedy Central; not only from his work on The Daily Show, but he also hosts John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up, a show that I quite enjoy and will be sad to see end (if that is the case).

I am a little more confused as to why HBO is doing this. I don’t doubt their interest in Oliver, as he has proven himself and is coming off a successful hosting stint that significantly raised his exposure and name recognition. Snatching him up makes sense. But as of now, they already have a weekly show that discusses politics in Real Time with Bill Maher. That show doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon – though if I was Maher, I’d be a little concerned (perhaps this is why he is out on the road, earning some stew) – so HBO will have two shows looking at politics. That seems like overkill and a change in focus. HBO shows also typically don’t air year round; their seasons are much shorter and spread out throughout the year. One of the reasons that The Daily Show is so successful, other than its excellent writing and sharp with, is that it is topical. Jon Stewart and crew are mixing it up in the world of politics four nights a week. They are absolutely current on what is going on and can keep up with American’s short attention spans. If Oliver is doing what sounds like a very similar show to The Daily Show – which raises some other issues – but is only doing it one night a week and sporadically throughout the year, I’d think that puts him at a substantial disadvantage. With the recent proliferation of new late night shows, there is more competition than ever in this genre. I also will be curious to see what time this new show airs on Sunday nights; HBO has a pretty solid roster of shows already on Sundays and I’ll be interested to see where Oliver’s show gets slotted in.

This is only speculation, obviously, since Oliver’s new show hasn’t even been filmed let alone aired, but I hope that it isn’t too close to the model created by The Daily Show. If Oliver is striking out to do his own thing, he really should make it as much his own thing as possible; I don’t know that I like the idea of a copy of The Daily Show, which not only would be a little disingenuous but just isn’t smart strategically. The Daily Show already exists and is good at what it does. Oliver’s new show is going to draw comparisons to The Daily Show regardless, but the last thing it should be is a pale imitation of the original.

All this being said, I like John Oliver and wish him the best of luck with his move to HBO. He’s a talented guy and I hope that this decision works out for him. The Daily Show is suffering a big loss with his departure, but they will bounce back like always; that show is bigger than any one person. I don’t necessarily like change, but I’ll make my peace with it and will tune into Oliver’s new show when it debuts sometime in 2014. As of now, Oliver’s last appearance on The Daily Show is scheduled for December 19th and I look forward to the sendoff that he will receive (or lack thereof; if they don’t do much of anything, that is a clue to some behind the scenes tensions). I should also start dusting off my resume and working on my on-screen presence. This means that there is a vacancy at The Daily Show and I think I’d make one hell of a writer/correspondent.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Back to School edition

In this part of country today is the first day of school, which has little direct impact on my except that I had to avoid school buses during my morning commute and that my Facebook feed is filled with pictures of my friends’ offspring heading off to their institutions of learning. It’s still weird to me to not have a first day of school anymore; when you are a student and teacher continuously from the age of 4 to 32, you get used to such things. I do miss back to school shopping. I may have to buy myself some highlighters and folders just for old time’s sake. Best of luck to all the kiddos and teachers out there for a productive and educational school year and congratulations to all the parents in weathering another summer (and a special shout out to those of you who now have all your children in school and no longer have to pay for day care – the nightmare is over!).

In honor of the first day of school, allow me to educate you on all the pop culture stories that you might have missed while you were looking for the school prescribed type of scissors or haggling over first day of school outfits. Kick back and enjoy the beginning of Fall with your biweekly pop culture roundup:

  • Someone at HBO has been listening to me – next season of True Blood will be the series’ last. They are proving to be smarter than the books.
  • The new cast of Dancing with the Stars was revealed. I knew it was only a matter of time until Snookie turned up, though I wouldn’t have predicted Bill Nye the Science Guy,


  • Official Comedy looks at what would happen if Mark Wahlberg got his wish and became Iron Man:


  • Clint Eastwood and his wife have separated (I called this when she got her own reality show).
  • This dude made a homemade version of KITT from Knight Rider:


  • Here’s a photo of Peter Dinklage hula-hooping at a gay bar in Canada. If this doesn’t make you smile, you have no heart:


He was joined by his Game of Throne’s sister Lena Headey. Say what you will about the Lannisters – these people know how to have a good time.

  • This parody site offers suggestions for Robin Thicke for “what rhymes with hug me.”
  • This weekend we had a debate about what kind of tattoos we would get (neither of us got tatted up in college with all our friends). I’ve considered a lot of options, but somehow a Minion tattoo never crossed my mind.
  • Michelle Williams (the actress, not the Destiny’s Child singer) will make her Broadway debut in Cabaret. In other news, someone needs to get me tickets to Cabaret.
  • Aaron Paul continues his general tour of awesomeness with this napkin that he left for a server that he found out was a Breaking Bad fan:


  • Watch a trailer for the 4th season of Downton Abbey:


  • Also on Thursday, Fiona Apple stormed off stage. Seriously – was there a full moon?
  • David Schwimmer angered his neighbors by tearing down a townhouse in NYC that was one year away from receiving landmark status. Their passive aggressive response is outstanding:
Did anyone think he was?

Did anyone think he was?

  • Jay Pharoah does a fantastic Kanye impersonation in his parody of West’s “I Am A God” (NSFW):


  • This is ONLY A RUMOR, but Benedict Cumberbatch may join the cast of the new Star Wars film.
  • The director of the Academy Award winning animated short Paperman has left Disney. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors – I loved his film.
  • Internet sensations Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub met for the first time at the Internet Cat Festival in Minneapolis. Yeah – you read that last part correctly.
  • The role of Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones has been recast. Because it isn’t hard enough already to keep all those characters straight when they are played continuously by the same actor.
  • Speaking of parent/child switcheroos, this tweet made me literally laugh out loud:


  • This guy definitely sounds like a legit doctor – a dentist who bought John Lennon’s molar at an auction wants to use it to clone the Beatle. Yup – that’s not at all creepy.
  • Damn you to hell, Chase Utley. I have been perfectly content to hate you and your stupid hair since 2009 and then you had to go and do something relatively awesome like answer Mac’s fan letter from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.



  • Kyle Chandler isn’t particularly interested in a Friday Night Lights movie (based on the TV show, obviously, since there already is a Friday Night Lights movie in existence). I still need to get around to watching season 5.
  • Muhammad Ali and Liberace once performed together. No, seriously:


  • I love this video of a guy dressed up as Spiderman, schooling people on the basketball court:

That was twice as entertaining as The Amazing Spiderman.

  • Further proof that Charlie Hunnam will do just fine in the Fifty Shades of Grey lead – he already basically played the other lead role on Queer as Folk.
  • According to Entertainment Weekly the greatest boy band of all time is……The Backstreet Boys.
  • Someone figured out how to play “Get Lucky” on Mario Paint:


  • Simon Pegg and Nick Frost actually do a decent cover of the song as well:


As always, we end with the mashups and shupercuts

  • A supercut of near kisses in movies:


  • People on The Newsroom sure like to shout:


  • Every time Leonardo DiCaprio says “old sport” in The Great Gatsby:


  • The new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts tonight on FXX. Watch clips from the show re-cut as a trailer for a psychological thriller:


  • Kill Him – the supercut:


  •  I was forced to watch a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine while babysitting a dreadful little boy while I was in grad school, so I took particular joy in this mash-up:


  • And finally, a fan already cut together a trailer for Man of Steel 2, adding the rumored Brian Cranston as Lex Luthor for good measure:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Epic Roundup edition

So it appears I went a little overboard this week with the links; I was freaking out that I was behind schedule on this post and just started plugging away in compiling links. Next thing you know, the document was nine pages long. I guess I just kind of lost track of what I was doing. So while you wade through all the pop culture goodness I’ve cultivated for you over the last two weeks, I’m going to consider taking a nap after a job well done.

  • Chris Brown is facing possible jail time after an alleged hit and run incident. That’s kind of like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.
  • Don Draper’s childhood home is a real place (and for sale), though it was heavily CGIed for Mad Men. Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and scenes from Chinatown were filmed in the same neighborhood.
  • Get off the ledge – Robert Downey, Jr. is confirmed for Avengers 2 and Avengers 3.
  • Breaking Bad is the latest TV show to get its own beer. Anyone in Albuquerque want to send me some?
  • Um….am I the only one that finds it odd that they are using an Eminem song in the trailer for Despicable Me 2?


  • Starz has officially announced a new series Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. Not sure it is for me, but sounds interesting.
  • No shocker here – Dan Harmon finally watched the 4th season of Community and he wasn’t a fan.
  • Flavor Flav’s last chicken and ribs restaurant has closed. Fun fact – Flavor Flav is inexplicably one of my Twitter followers (Word up, Flavor FLAV!).
  • Stephen Colbert’s mother passed away last week. If you haven’t seen his touching tribute to her, it is a must watch. I bawled through the whole thing.


  • The national nightmare is over – Twinkies, Ho Hos and the rest of the Hostess cake family will return to shelves July 15. I’m guessing the people who dropped a ton of cash to stock up are feeling kind of foolish right now.
  • Someone (brave) got an Arrested Development inspired license plate:



  • The Faceblock App from the new episodes of Arrested Development can now be downloaded.
  • Shark Week is coming in August – and if this promo is an indication, it’s going to be particularly twisted. RIP Snuffy.


  • CNN breaks down the accuracy of the recent Lifetime movie on Jodi Arias (which yes, I watched). Good job CNN – no worldwide crises you should be covering.
  • Nick Swisher and his actress wife Joanna Garcia have released the first picture of their baby daughter and she is just precious:


Welcome to the world, Emerson Jay!

Welcome to the world, Emerson Jay!


  • Finally! One of Taylor Swift’s (alleged) exes has (allegedly) written a song about her. Oh John Mayer – I knew you were the one that was douchey enough to do this and I love you for it.
  • Jon Stewart was on the Egyptian version of The Daily Show. It switches over to English about 2.5 minutes into the interview


I’m still reeling from the death of James Gandolfini and am touched with the various ways he has been honored:

  • The New York Yankees took a moment to observe his passing:



  • Holsten’s Ice Cream, the locale for the final scene of The Sopranos, saved a table in his honor:



  • Sesame Street posted a clip of his 2002 appearance:


  • Gary David Goldberg, creator of Family Ties and Spin City, passed away. Michael J. Fox remembers him.
  • I’m regretting that I didn’t go to the Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival – it happened only a hop, skip and a jump away in North Adams, MA. I’m especially bummed I missed Wilco’s all cover set, but now I can listen to it online in its entirety.


  • Happy 50th birthday to Georgios Kyriacos Panagiòtou (George Michael to the uninitiated).  In honor of half a century, here’s one of my favorite songs:


  • A new poster has been released for the final season of Breaking Bad (did anyone else internally yell out Fame? Just me? Moving on….)

breaking bad poster


  • Men’s Wearhouse has fired their founder (and star of their commercials). I’m guessing they didn’t like the way he looks.
  • The Village Voice has an interview with my favorite member of The Roots, Questlove.
  • A Street Fighter parody – with cats. My Pumpkin would dominate in this.


  • Among the new Houseguest on this season of Big BrotherRachel’s sister (if you watched the show, you know what this means).
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was really exceptional last week – great guests and fun bits – but this Super Mario Brother’s rap is really fantastic:


  • Speaking of…this photo makes me deliriously happy:

Rob Stringer Honored As UJA-Federation Music Visionary Of 2013


  • The first episode of the Stephen King miniseries Under the Dome did very well for CBS. The rich get richer.
  • An infographic of Leonardo DiCaprio movies.



  • The first trailer for the upcoming Lego movie has been released:


  • This screencap pretty much sums up the 90s:



  • Parks and Recreation will kick off its sixth season with an hour long episode that takes place outside Pawnee.
  • Disney has (thankfully) decided to change the name of the upcoming Muppets sequel from The Muppets…..Again! to Muppets Most Wanted.


  • Ridley Scott. Cormac McCarthy. Brad Pitt. Michael Fassbender. Penelope Cruz. Javier Bardem. Cameron Diaz. All associated with one movie – The Counselor


  • The actor in this character might look familiar – he was the awful Oliver on The O.C.


  • OK – I PROMISE this is the last Kanye-related thing this week. He made a terrible short film to promote his new album Yeezus that features fellow Kardashian baby daddy Scott Disick and Kim BFF Jonathan Cheban. They are not great actors, but this is kind of hilarious since Disick has always given off an American Psycho vibe. Glad to see he owns his sociopathic-ness.


  • This isn’t really pop culture related, but it’s far too crazy not to share (and it happened a few towns over from me).

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Here’s montage of famous movie actresses, edited to make their heads explode


  • Wonder what it would be like if John Lennon auditioned for The Voice? Wonder no longer


  • I’m still not tired of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky;” listen to it performed by President Obama:


  •  A supercut of all of Troy McClure’s credits on The Simpsons


  • Jon Snow gets an 80’s style training montage, as it should be:


  • This supercut seems to indicate that David Letterman is kind of obsessed with drums:


  • A supercut of zombie headshots


  • And finally – Hannibal’s open credits get an Arrested Development make-over:


Have a great week!