I think this show is already onto its third season but it took me a while to get around to watching John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show (to give it its full title, not sure why IMDb drop John Oliver from the name). I love the guy on The Bugle and The Daily Show but generally stand-up comedy on TV can be a mixed bag; not because it is on TV but just because this is how it can be in real life – shows of several artists will rarely have all of them hitting it out of the park. With this show we get a pretty strong start each and every time because John Oliver is a funny guy and he does good work here as host; not sure why the show doesn't give him a few bits in between the other acts as a normal host would get, but I guess time is tight in the world of TV.
The guests are not all as consistent though. Throughout the season there was only one that I decided to totally skip but there quite a few where I was only amused rather than really laughing. The exceptions are pretty great though – so thanks to this first season I am a fan of Maria Bamford as I thought she was brilliant. On the opposite end of that I thought that Mary Lynn Rajskub really didn't work at all; totally accept her background is in comedy but her nervy act left me cold – and all the colder for being in the show several times. Mostly it is at very least amusing though and the main acts of each show often were very strong and justified the full second half of the show to themselves, while some of the "opening" acts managed to steal a bigger chunk of the limelight, but there is the constant nag of this being a bit inconsistent.
Just like real life then I suppose, but this is a show that can be hilariously funny one minute and so-so the next. Oliver himself is a good host and always opens it well, but the problems here are really the problem of the genre.
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