Back on the Stage

While many comedians have shown off their talents on Comedy Central, few have been as influential and loved as John Oliver.

Oliver, senior British correspondent on “The Daily Show” and co-host of the weekly satirical podcast, The Bugle, is the star of the second season of “John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show,” which premiered last Thursday at midnight. The show will continue for five more episodes in the season and features some of Oliver’s favorite performers.

Beyond his Daily Show and stand-up performances, Oliver has contributed his funny-man skills to “Community,” where he says he loves working with the cast — Donald Glover in particular — and the writing of creator Dan Harmon.

However, his love for stand-up and comedy keeps him returning to the stage he calls home.

“I’ve always done stand-up,” Oliver said. “I feel that if I don’t do it for a certain amount of time, I get jittery, so I love to do it. Doing a series each year means I can just burn that hour of material I’ve worked up over the year and can then start again. It keeps me refreshing material. Also, I do love the idea of doing stand-up with people that I admire.”

Oliver said the lack for another career alternative was one of the strongest reasons he got into comedy.

“I wanted to be a footballer and lacked the skills to do that,” Oliver said. “I loved comedy growing up, and I started writing in college and realized I wanted to do it as a career. Then a few years in I realized that I didn’t have any other marketable skills and I would have to do it as a career. Quite the incentive.”

Oliver pointed out that many who aspire to be comedians are naturally outsiders and take an outside view of society. He contributes part of his success to his British accent.

He said it helps his stand-up since he is audibly different from the beginning of his act. However, this does not make him invulnerable to embarrassments on the stage.

“When you do stand-up, it is basically a sequence of unrelenting embarrassments,” Oliver said. “I’ve had terrible things said to me. It just sorts of blends up. But after the 100th insult you’ve had thrown at you when doing stand-up, it eventually just loses the capacity to hurt.”

Oliver enjoys watching other comedy shows, including “South Park” and “Community,” but says he avoids watching shows he is in because it is “incredibly painful.”

While several comedians who debuted on “The Daily Show,” including Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle, set off on their own paths, Oliver said he plans to stay with the show and continue stand-up.

Referencing the dramatic skills of “House” star Hugh Laurie, Oliver said he doesn’t have those types of gears in his gearbox and finds it less fun to do a dramatic role than, as he says, “messing around.”

He commented that the producers of “Community” were able to work around his “Daily Show” schedule. He said taking larger roles on television or in movies would cause him to have to leave “The Daily Show,” which he does not want to do.

“I like doing the other things just to get a bit of balance in my head,” Oliver said. “I really love it (at the Daily Show), so I won’t leave unless they fire me.”