Oliver Twist

These days, most folks who attend standup gigs featuring British transplant John Oliver, who arrives for a two-night run today, know what to expect from his contributions to The Daily Show — and that's lucky for him, since those who come in cold aren't always as receptive. "You have to convince people not only that you're funny, but that they’re interested in hearing about politics," he says. "They're like, 'Really? Well, I have worked hard, and I'm a bit drunk now, so I was hoping you wouldn't be talking about global economics.' And they've got a point. But I have no plan B."

When The Daily Show called, Oliver wasn't the only one afraid he’d fail to measure up to the likes of host Jon Stewart. "I remember my manager said, 'Oh, don't worry about it. You'll probably get fired within three weeks,'" he recalls. Instead, Oliver has developed into the show's most consistently hilarious correspondent, as well as the person most likely to induce politicians into embarrassing themselves during interviews. "They think, 'They won't get me,'" he notes. "That kind of arrogance is usually the pride that comes before the fall."

Oliver suffers no such smugness. He's a supporting player in The Love Guru, the forthcoming Mike Myers movie, playing a character with a mega-sophisticated name: Dick Pants. Rather than planning for film stardom, though, he's looking forward to more Daily Show duties, including a week covering the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. "Democrats seem to have a natural self-destruct impulse," he enthuses. "They needn't destroy themselves just for our benefit. I'm sure they'll do that anyway."

Catch Oliver at 8 and 10 p.m. tonight or at two shows tomorrow at the Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street; tickets are $25. Get details at 303-595-3637 or www.comedyworks.com. For more of our Oliver interview, visit blogs.westword.com/latestword.
Fri., March 21; Sat., March 22, 2008


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