Comedian John Oliver entertains Jesse Auditorium
Sep. 22, 2008
The audience was ready, rustling in their Jesse Auditorium seats with anticipation. The stage was set - a bar stool, a spotlight, a mic stand - and an abundance of plants.
"Yes, there are a lot of plants on this stage," said comedian John Oliver, the unconventional news correspondent for Comedy Central's mock-news show, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
Surrounded by dense vegetation, Oliver began his stand-up routine Friday night with lots of laughs and a thick British accent.
"You all need to have as much oxygen as you can," Oliver said.
The comedian opened the show by asking the audience a plethora of questions.
"I like to know things about places I go," Oliver said from the stage. The crowd was immediately receptive of all of Oliver's jokes, while silently agreeing to give him a hard time.
"What do you like to do here?" Oliver asked of those in attendance.
The loudest response came from an overenthusiastic and possibly inebriated ticket-holder.
Catching on fast, Oliver was not about to let the audience have the last laugh. He made fun of all things local, including fandom ("I hear you're doing pretty well in what you call 'football,'"), the State of the Union (Colorado is the "least obese" state in the nation), heritage ("All you have to do is go over to the Queen for throwing her fucking tea into the Boston Harbor,") and citizen rights ("I love guns now. I love the Second Amendment so much I think it should be the first").
Oliver broke the barrier between audience and entertainer from the get-go, but most unconventionally. When a man in a white shirt in the front row hurriedly got up to leave to answer a phone call, Oliver leaped off the stage and chased him out of the auditorium, amid laughter from the flabbergasted audience. When the man returned, Oliver chastised him, saying "That better have been the most important fucking phone call ever."
Continuing with the traditional political "Daily Show" news theme, John Oliver poked fun at American political parties.
"What democracy really looks like is an overactive 8-year-old's birthday party," Oliver said of the Republican National Convention. "There is nothing more sinister in this world than a really happy Republican."
Oliver did not leave the Democrats out, though. After polling the audience members about who they thought would win the November election - McCain or Obama - Oliver told the crowd it was all wrong.
"It is still too early to rule out Hillary Clinton," he said.
In the midst of an anecdote about how the Pope and Jesus are not compatible because of their astrological signs (Jesus is a Capricorn), Oliver mistakenly quoted the head of the Catholic Church, who has a birthday on April 16, as a Sagittarius. The audience immediately corrected Oliver, yelling "Aries!" and leaving Oliver astounded and impressed. "You are a talented audience, Missouri," Oliver said.
Earning his respect this way, the comedian continued his show, asking the crowd for input and allowing an unusual question-and-answer portion before he concluded his set. He also seemed to break out of his routine, improvising with input from the audience and whatever was on his mind (though this wasn't always effective). Oliver ended the show by accidentally miming making out with Bill O'Reilly, and later, embarrassedly said, "Something tells me I'm going to remember this gig a lot longer than you do."