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Comedian John Oliver Comes to TCNJ

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.


It’s hard to believe that some celebrities have once led ordinary lives like us college students. However, John Oliver, a famous stand-up comedian and Emmy award winning comedic writer, was in fact just like us college kids at one point in his life.

Oliver, a political satirist, is most famous for his role as a correspondent and writer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Oliver also writes and performs his own stand-up comedy, which is within the political genre as well, as many saw during his performance here at The College of New Jersey on Mar. 5, 2013.

However, with such a strong knowledge of politics and governmental affairs, many would be surprised to find out that John Oliver was not a political science major while at college, or anything close to it.

Oliver, who is originally from South London, was an English major during his undergraduate years at Christ’s College within the University of Cambridge. “I studied English. You could argue that it is cheating, for someone who not only speaks English, but is English,” joked Oliver.

Even someone who is successful and established like Oliveris able to admit that he was not entirely satisfied with his choice of major.“If I had to do it all over again, I would have picked something that was a bit more worthwhile than the English language, because I’m already a writer,” said Oliver.

That being said, I’m sure many of us can relate to John Oliver since choosing a major is not the easiest task. Hopefully this will allow some of us to breathe more easily knowing that we actually don’t have to figurethe rest of our lives out while we are only young college students.

John Oliver was not entirely sure what he wanted to do for a living early on in his life until he started experience things outside of the classroom.

“I started writing and doing shows at the university, and started doing stand-up, and it was pretty clear that that was what I wanted to do, rather than be a professional English major,” said Oliver.

Ever since Oliver began to pursue his passion for comedy in college, things seem to have fallen into place for him.

“I think what happened was, that they are always looking for people, and John [Stewart] had met with Ricky Gervais, and I didn’t know Ricky at all at the time, but he recommended me for the job. So, it all happened pretty quickly, so quickly that most of my stuff is still in a storage container in South London,” said Oliver, on how he landed his job at “The Daily Show.”

As for the rest of us college students, we can only hope that we will end up as successful as John Oliver and find our dream jobs someday.

But for now, John Oliver offered us some very realistically British advice: “Things are either going to be fine, or they’re not. Anything short of falling into a sinkhole, you’re probably going to be fine.”

“Lots of things are accidental though, life takes some crazy turns, so whatever you’re planning for in college, things may work out differently anyway,” said Oliver.

“The American response is, ‘just go for it, live your dreams, everything is going to be OK,’” joked Oliver. “The British response is, ‘roll with the punches. You’re gonna get hit, just try to stay on your feet.’”


Jessa Gianotti is a senior Journalism and Professional Writing major at The College of New Jersey with minors in Marketing and Pre-Law.
Hilarey Wojtowicz is a senior Journalism/Professional Writing major at The College of New Jersey. Hilarey works for TCNJ's Residential Education and Housing Department as a Community Advisor, but is truly aspiring to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. Not only does Hilarey love writing for her campus's chapter of Her Campus, but she enjoys writing about sports for local newspapers, as well. A true Jersey girl at heart, Hilarey is definitely not from the Boston area, but is a huge fan of the New England Patriots. You can find her interning in New York City this Fall at Woman's Day Magazine.