New season of John Oliver’s stand-up show promotes community in comedy world

John Oliver

Stand-up fans, get ready: the second season of John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show is almost here. Premiering March 24 on Comedy Central, the show features some returning stand-up favorites as well as some newer faces. And, to promote the show, John Oliver was in town for South by Southwest with a live performance featuring four of the stand-up comedians who will take the stage this spring: Kumail Nanjiani, Brendon Walsh, Al Madrigal and Pete Holmes.

The premiere season was a six-episode run featuring 17 stand-up comedians, in addition to Oliver. The second season will operate with the same formula, featuring longer sets from a few season one alumni, like Maria Bamford and Holmes, as well as some newcomers, like Anthony Jeselnik, Jen Kirkman, Rory Albanese and Kyle Kinane. Oliver is thrilled with the response in the comic community to the show: “I can’t believe the amount of people who said they would do it. It’s been really fun.”

The show deviates from Oliver’s usual work on The Daily Show, where he works as a writer and correspondent – a job, he notes, he truly loves. But the enthusiasm he has for the content of the series, as well as stand-up itself, is palpable. In putting the show together, “You realize how much more fun it is doing it with a group of people than it is doing an hour special alone, just because you get to hang around together, which you don’t normally get to do when you’re doing stand-up on TV.”

The show’s focus on a community of comedians rather than solo acts, Oliver explains, manifests in the content of the comedy itself. “It actually kind of ends up relaxing everyone, and people enjoy watching each other onstage, so it was a really nice atmosphere to film the show in.”

If the abbreviated SXSW version of the stand-up show in Austin was any indication, he’s absolutely right. As we explained in our recap, the show was interactive, communal, and high-energy – as the best stand-up shows are.

And, as a testament to the quality of the comedy on the show, Oliver’s excitement about the show remains even after repeated viewings. “I think it’s really funny. I’m not sick of it. We’ve been looking at the edit, and usually, you get sick of it after watching it a few times. But it makes me laugh.”

Carrie Andersen

In addition to writing for Laughspin, Carrie is a graduate student in Austin, Texas, where she researches popular culture, new media, music, and social movements. When not reading or writing in any official capacity, she spends her time playing the drums, watching crappy TV, and eating copious amounts of tacos and barbecue. She also blogs sporadically at

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien