With Big Ben in the background, John Oliver made his first appearance on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on July 31, 2006. Oliver's first segment with Jon Stewart featured him as a "European Correspondent" reporting on the interactions between former President George W. Bush and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair at the 2006 Group of Eight (G8) Summit.
In the clip from Oliver's first appearance on The Daily Show, which you can watch on Comedy Central's website, Stewart introduces Oliver as the show's "new correspondent." Oliver, portraying a European news correspondent in front of a green screen that features London in the background, reflects on the British perception of the relationship between Blair and Bush, for which Blair is being mocked in the British press.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oliver's first clip was indeed trial by fire for the comedian. The Daily Show flew Oliver to the United States for the correspondent job (only his second time ever in the country) and put him on camera the very next day. Reflecting on his experiences during his first filming of The Daily Show, Oliver stated "I remember my legs going a little bit wobbly and then thinking: 'What the f--- are you doing? You're about to get found out in a big way.'"
In his Hollywood Reporter interview, Oliver also noted that there were additional intimidating factors about his first day of filming. J.K. Rowling, the (obviously) renowned Harry Potter author, happened to be sitting in the front row of the audience when Oliver filmed his first-ever segment. Of her presence, Oliver said:
She's [J.K. Rowling] just sitting there in the front row ... there is basically the modern queen of England. And so I kind of babbled something at her about it being my first day. And she said, "Well done," and gave me a hug. It was a very bizarre first day.
Rowling went on to tell Oliver, who was sporting round-shaped glasses at the time, that he looked like Harry Potter. While his first day may have been bizarre and surreal, his appearance on The Daily Show went on to spawn a nearly decade-long career working for the show and surely paved the way for Oliver to eventually launch his own show with HBO.
Thus, in honoring the premier of Oliver's fourth season of his own show, Last Week Tonight, it is fun and entertaining to look back at how Oliver got his start in the United States and how far he has come while maintaining the same witty, insightful comedic talent he displayed in his first appearance on The Daily Show.