Like fellow Footlights alum Eric Idle, John Oliver has a benign mania in his wide eyes that goes beyond deadpan, with a voice that contains all the drama of Eddie Argos's permanent post-adolescence combined with John Lydon's certain doom. In other words, he has the total commitment of a fine actor filtered through the priorities of a comedian, just like other breakout stars of The Daily Show, where he's a writer and field-correspondent-you-look-forward-to: Interviewing a campaign spokesperson, he gives a genuine gasp of horror ("Your lips are moving, but you're not saying anything!"), and makes it funny to be British because he'll use whatever's handy (they talk that way when they're "'elping people"). Standup isn't the medium to fully appreciate this sensibility, but he's surprisingly strong out of character. (Photo by Martin Cook)
Sat., Sept. 24, 7 p.m., 2011
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