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John Oliver: Terrifying Times (2008)

In this stand-up comedy from Comedy Central, British comedian John Oliver discusses global issues, politics, and his childhood.

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In this stand-up comedy from Comedy Central, British comedian John Oliver discusses global issues, politics, and his childhood.

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20 April 2008 (USA)  »

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Typically strong political humour and delivery from the very funny star of The Love Guru
14 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

As a subscriber to audio newspaper The Bugle and a regular viewer of the Daily Show, it perhaps goes without saying that I do quite like John Oliver's view on the world. I haven't specifically sought him but at any point but these two shows had made him a fixture in my world of political satire. His recent career high of The Love Guru made me decide to seek out some of his other material and it brought me back a year to this stand-up special. Fans of his work on The Bugle and Daily Show will have reason to enjoy this because he does essentially deliver the same sort of style as he does on both those shows (albeit this is slightly more Bugle than Daily Show).

Oliver compares and contrasts the British and American empires, discusses fair trade, what makes him cry and many other topics all with an acerbic and cynical political edge and it is consistently very funny and very clever. I have never really seen him do this type of show but he really is very good at it and he holds the audience well, with informed observational material that can encompass global political events while also seamlessly including a story of when his penis fell out of his shorts during a race in school. It is an odd mix but it is a very well written show and Oliver has a great delivery, albeit he is a little less deadpan than Daily Show viewers may be used to. Bugle fans will also be delighted to see that Andy Zaltzman makes two brief appearances – an acquired taste as a comedian, he does work well with Oliver and he adds a bit of the dead-pan zany to the show.

Overall Terrifying Times may be about two years old but, despite being topical political humour, it is still very enjoyable and very funny. Oliver's material is as strong as his delivery and this hour long special is another reason why he gets the laughs and the cheers that he does anytime he is on the Daily Show. Very clever, very funny stuff.


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