John Oliver Takes Over 'The Daily Show,' Takes On the NSA

Jon Stewart's fill-in doesn't shy away from one of the biggest news stories of the year.

(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Oliver steps into the hosting role amid one of the biggest news stories of the year: the NSA privacy scandal.

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Monday marked British comedian John Oliver's first night in the anchor chair of Comedy Central's "fake news" program "The Daily Show," stepping in for host Jon Stewart, who is off for the summer directing a film.

"Welcome to 'The Daily Show.' I am John Oliver and let's all just acknowledge for a moment that this is weird. This looks weird. It feels weird. It even sounds weird," Oliver said in his opening.

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Weirder still is that Oliver stepped into the hosting role in the heat of one of the biggest news stories of the year, the NSA privacy scandal.

Oliver joked that he had planned some light British humor – Mary Poppins allusions and the like – but he devoted much of the show to the surveillance controversy in a segment called "Good News! You're Not Paranoid." The NSA riff continued after the first commercial break, with other "Daily Show" correspondents using it as a jumping off point to question the decision to put Oliver in charge.

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Even the interview piece with Seth Rogen toed back into the NSA storyline (after much discussion of a giant penis that appears in Rogen's latest film, "This Is the End"). In a game Oliver called "playing the NSA," "The Daily Show" recorded Rogen on the phone in his dressing room complaining about the replacement host.

John Oliver may bring an easily mocked accent and a notable increase in f-bombs to "The Daily Show." But like Stewart, Oliver closed the episode with a "Moment of Zen," a 2006 clip of Joe Biden criticizing government surveillance programs.

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