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'Daily Show' Alumni Land Big Solo Projects

By Jac Kern · April 23rd, 2014 · Television
ac_tv_johnoliver_photo-eric liebowitzJohn Oliver - Photo: Eric Liebowitz

The Daily Show has propelled more comics to fame than just host Jon Stewart. Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver (OK, a lot of white guys) and many others sparked their careers with regular appearances on Comedy Central’s “fake news” show. But it’s the latter two, Colbert and Oliver, making big waves in their own rights as of late.

When David Letterman announced his impending retirement earlier this month, the rumor mill churned out plenty of potential replacement hosts for The Late Show, from Tina Fey to Jon Stewart himself. But it was Stephen Colbert who’d been selected in a decision announced a few days later. Some time in 2015, with his Colbert Report contract ending this year, Stephen will trade in his faux-servative persona for the coveted network gig. Colbert was a major player on The Daily Show from 1997 to 2005, when he received his own spin-off, the Fox News-satirizing Colbert Report.

In premium cable land, former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver kicks off his own news satire this week, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Series Premiere, 11 p.m. Sunday, HBO). The funny Brit has plenty of experience — besides being a Daily Show correspondent since 2006, the comedian filled in for Stewart for eight weeks in the summer of 2013 while the host directed his first film.

Last Week will have a similar news mockery feel to The Daily Show — even the show’s title pokes fun at the ubiquity of a weekly news program when there’s countless 24-hours news outlets. Oliver is said to have complete creative control over the show. 


Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – The fam flies to Australia where Phil carries out one of his late mother’s final wishes.


Parks and Recreation (Season Finale, 8 p.m., NBC) – Ben and mom-to-be Leslie visit San Francisco to attend a National Parks conference.

Ron has another run-in with Tammy Two in this hour-long finale.

SNL Digital Shorts (9 p.m., NBC) – Saturday Night Live’s video shorts have become one of the show’s highlights, catapulted by 2005’s Lazy Sunday (though the very first installment was an offbeat lettuce commercial). Since then, SNL Digital Shorts brought us Natalie Portman’s raunchy rap, Dick in a Box and I’m on a Boat among many others and have become a platform for comedy musical trio The Lonely Island. Take a look back at some of the best shorts from 2005-2013.

Bad Teacher (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m., CBS) – How do you take a raunchy R-rated comedy from the big screen to primetime TV? Take out all the funny parts? Ari Graynor (For a Good Time Call…) stars as a newly divorced bad girl who gets a teaching gig to meet a new husband.

Portlandia (10 p.m., IFC) — Portland gets an official city 3D printer; art students stick their paintbrushes to The Man; Santa worries about the future of Christmas.


Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) -– A new murder reveals there’s an animalistic killing machine on the loose. Will meets Hannibal’s peculiar new patient (who is one bejeweled eyepatch away from being a cartoon villainess).

Vice (11 p.m., HBO) – A look at the onslaught of legal marijuana and the struggles of North Korean defectors in South Korea.


Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Daenerys tries to balance justice and mercy in Meereen; Cersei wants Sansa’s head; Jaime turns to Brienne; Jon assembles a group to take on the wildlings; Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen find shelter.

Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Betty is back, lunching with a friend; Don takes a trip; Harry pitches his case.

Silicon Valley (10 p.m., HBO) – Peter throws a toga party, where Richard drunkenly promises Erlich a spot on the company’s board. Elsewhere Richard struggles to explain Pied Piper in a presentation and we catch up with Big Head at Hooli.


New Girl (9 p.m., Fox) – Jess asks the guys to chaperone a school dance she’s organizing. Because it’s totally normal for a teacher’s male roommates to do that!

The Mindy Project (9:30 p.m., Fox) – Mindy goes out with the cop (Tim Daly); Peter feels insecure dating a brain surgeon; Danny offers Mindy his extra condo (extra!). 

Inside Amy Schumer (10 p.m., Comedy Central) -– Sex with magicians, judging exotic dancers, nut allergies and more.

CONTACT JAC KERN: jkern@citybeat.com or @jackern



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