John Oliver is a political comedian from Great Britain. He currently appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show as a correspondent. He also participates in podcasts for the English newspaper The Times and The Bugle with fellow Andy Zaltman. This review covers his Comedy Central special stand-up John Oliver: Terrifying Times, which aired on April 20, 2008.
In "Terrifying Times", Oliver spends fifty-eight minutes poking fun at politics, evolution, nationalities, Wikipedia, political history, economics and malls, drunk voting, Fox News, The Mighty Ducks, and many other facets of life. Oliver's presentation is simply funny, as he uses his heritage for a unique perspective of the aforementioned issues. I have never seen him perform or even on The Daily Show (I don't watch the show; not because I don't think John Stewart and company aren't funny, but I never have the time...), but I thought his stand-up session was fantastic.
Oliver begins with a great bit about the United States' dominant presence in the world and Britain's former glory. He jokes about how the Great Britain was smart and did politically stupid things when there was no such thing as 24/7 new coverage. Nowadays, the United States' actions are covered by the media all hours of the day. While it may sound like a dry subject, Oliver takes it to a new level. He follows up with a great bit about drunk voting in Australia. As he continues, Oliver has some great material about a variety of subjects on politics, economics, technology, pop culture, and more.
Part of what makes Oliver's stand-up session so much fun is how he delivers the material. It is well-written and flows out of his mouth with expertise and confidence. He also includes an all-around hilarious perspective on the subjects he addresses. On the stage, there are also visual aids related to the current topic.
Overall, I was happy with John Oliver: Terrifying Times. I am not a huge fan of stand-up material, but I really did enjoy Oliver. He also included his buddy Andy Zaltman in a couple bits, which were pretty fun. In the end, if you like to laugh and do not mind lots of political humor, then this DVD is worth picking up or at least renting (while funny, I do not imagine a lot of replay value.)