When John Oliver officially joins HBO Sunday night as host of his own weekly program, “Last Week Tonight,” he finds himself at the head of a long conga line of talent that has left “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” in the past 15 years. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: TV’s fake news standard-bearer is the hottest hothouse of talent outside of “Saturday Night Live.”
Credit is due to Stewart, who has shared the stage – and occasionally ceded it (Oliver, Stephen Colbert) – to many through the years. And credit also is due to “The Best News Team Ever.” Maybe not the best. Indisputably the funniest. Here’s a partial list of on- (and off-) screen stars who have moved on.
JOSH LIEB: Former executive producer (2007-10) currently is producer in chief of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and – you may have heard – Josh and Company are doing quite well. Lieb was born in Columbia and attended Forest Lake Elementary School and Heathwood Hall. He was the architect behind one of “The Daily Show’s” funniest nods to the state, “Thank You South Carolina.”
ED HELMS: Hungover in “The Hangover” and Dr. Ed in “Children’s Hospital” and much, much (much) else, Helms was correspondent from 2002-06 where he seemed to channel a later creation, Andy Bernard of “The Office.”
SARAH VOWELL: Certainly one of the more unusual post- “TDC” career tracks, she’s also a bestselling author.
STEPHEN COLBERT: From 1997 to 2005, he perfected the persona he brought to “The Colbert Report,” which he will shed when he joins “Late Show” next year. (His pal former comedy associate, “Report” contributor and “Strangers With Candy” star Amy Sedaris also has been mentioned as a possible “Colbert” replacement.)
ROB CORDDRY: Former correspondent (2002-07) who has been everywhere – or seemingly so – ever since. (A couple dozen credits, including “Community,” “Happy Endings,” “Children’s Hospital”)
DAVID JAVERBAUM: The head writer from 2003 to 2006, will see his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God” rendered into a Broadway play for the 2015 season. (He got a Tony nomination for the musical “Cry-Baby.”)
JOSH GAD: Before he was famous, or at least before he starred as Elder Cunningham in “The Book of Mormon,” Gad was briefly a “TDC” correspondent. Who knew?
ROB RIGGLE: From 2006-09, correspondent Riggle also had been in the U.S. Marine Corps and a player on “Saturday Night Live.”
STEVE CARELL: Needs noooo intro: He was correspondent from 1999 to 2005, and became a major star afterward. His greatest TV role: Michael Scott on NBC’s “The Office,” of course.