John William Oliver (born on April 23, 1977) is a professional British comedian, actor, and writer. He is best known in the United States for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for which he won an Emmy in 2009. He also plays a recurring character, Professor Ian Duncan, on the television series Community. He has worked extensively with Andy Zaltzman; their body of work includes hundreds of hours of satirical podcasts and radio broadcasts, including series such as Political Animal, The Department, and The Bugle. He is a permanent resident of the United States and lives in New York City. He voiced Wax Sherlock Holmes in Gravity Falls' "Headhunters."
Oliver was born in Birmingham, brought up in Liverpool and Bedford, and educated at Mark Rutherford School. He is a graduate of Christ's College, Cambridge, where he studied English and was Vice-President of the Footlights for 1997–98, when the President was British comedian, actor, writer, and director Richard Ayoade. He also featured in that year's revue, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Oliver first appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2001 as part of The Comedy Zone, a late-night showcase of newer acts. He performed his debut solo show in 2002 and returned in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, he collaborated with Andy Zaltzman on a double act and co-hosting Political Animal, with various acts performing political material.
After relocating to New York City for The Daily Show, Oliver began performing stand-up in small clubs around the city, later moving on to headline shows in larger venues.
Oliver's first stand-up special—entitled John Oliver: Terrifying Times—debuted on Comedy Central on 20 April 2008 and was later released on DVD.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
John Oliver joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as its Senior British Correspondent in July 2006. "I've always striven to be both an entertainer and an irritant. I think that's why I feel so at home on The Daily Show," quipped Oliver in a January 2009 interview. Oliver won an Emmy in 2009 for "Best Comedy Writing In A Comedy or Variety Series" for his work on The Daily Show.
Oliver wrote and presented the current BBC America campaign to have viewers use closed captioning (subtitles). Shown in brief segments before shows, "The following program contains accents you would have heard a lot more if you hadn't thrown our tea into Boston Harbor," says one. "Not even British people can follow the British accent 100 percent of the time. Therefore you, like me, might want to use closed-captioning." Oliver has begun using some of these jokes in his current stand up routine.
Oliver appeared briefly in the series Green Wing as a car salesman.
In 2008 Oliver was given his first film role, playing Dick Pants in The Love Guru.
Oliver appears in a recurring capacity on the NBC comedy Community as Dr. Ian Duncan, a psychology professor. However, he declined becoming a regular cast member of the series because he did not want to leave The Daily Show for it.
John Oliver hosts a stand-up series entitled John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show, which features himself and several other comedians. It premiered 8 January 2010 on Comedy Central.
In 2009, Oliver made a cameo appearance as the actor Rip Torn in the music video for the Fiery Furnaces single "Even in the Rain", which is based around the story of the making of the film Easy Rider.
Oliver voiced Vanity Smurf in The Smurfs film.
John Oliver currently lives in New York with his wife Kate Norley, an Iraq War veteran. Oliver has said that they met at the 2008 Republican National Convention where he was doing a piece for The Daily Show and Norley was campaigning with Vets for Freedom. The two married in October 2011.
Oliver's status as an immigrant placed certain constraints on what he could do in his adopted country, but also provided him with comedy material as he poked fun at the opacity and occasional absurdity of the process of attaining US citizenship. Oliver was one of the many writers on the picket lines during the Writers' Guild strike which brought The Daily Show to a halt, but he appeared on the show upon its resuming production on 7 January 2008. During a sketch, he pointed out that he is in the U.S. on a visa which requires him not to strike while the show is in production and violation of the terms of the visa would be grounds for deportation. When asked about his immigration status in early 2009, Oliver said, "It's an ongoing, and slightly unsettling, battle to be honest. I tried engraving 'Give me your tired, your poor, and your aspiring comic performers' into the base of the Statue of Liberty, but apparently that's not legally binding." In an episode of The Bugle released 31 October 2009, Oliver announced that he "finally got approved for [his] green card," noting that now he can "get arrested filming bits for The Daily Show."
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- John Oliver's Official Website
- John Oliver Biography at The Daily Show
- John Oliver on Facebook
- John Oliver at Comedy Central (Comedians)
- John Oliver at the Internet Movie Database