John Oliver has gotten off the mark with his new solo show Last Week Tonight on HBO, which didn't stray too far from the concept and structure of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. The reviews were, on the whole, pretty good and Oliver certainly didn't do anything wrong in his first outing.
John Oliver Made A Solid Start to 'Last Week Tonight'
"But what really grabbed me about Last Week Tonight was the long segment in the middle about the upcoming India Election," wrote Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly, "Oliver chastised the American media for its complete inability to cover the biggest election in human history; but Oliver also managed to come up with a handy rundown of the important facts."
Tom Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter gave the show a positive review, though lamented the 30 minute running time." Even at a commercial-free 30 minutes, Last Week Tonight felt rushed and jam-packed with information, heightened by Oliver's tendency to get excited and/or yell," he wrote, "Those are all good traits (and, historically, pretty funny traits of his), but the entire concept might work better at an hour so the man could at least breathe."
Louis Vertel of HitFix.com said: "Before you could quake in suspense wondering what comic tone "Last Week Tonight" would strike, Oliver eliminated all pretenses right from the get-go: "Welcome to whatever this is," he intoned from behind the anchor desk, right before springing right into the news. "It turned out to be a rough week for unrepentant racists and recording devices."
Oliver rose to prominence after being recommended to Jon Stewart by British comedian Ricky Gervais. He spent eight weeks as host of The Daily Show in 2013.
Oliver's contract with HBO lasts two years with an option for more.
More: Meet John Oliver
Watch Jon Stewart arriving for the 'Night of Too Many Stars':