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Jon Stewart who?: John Oliver’s “Daily Show” is almost too good

Starting this past week, and for the next three months, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” will be “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” with John Oliver. Oliver, the show’s longtime foppish-haired British correspondent, had no time to ease into his new desk chair -- the unfolding NSA and PRISM scandals made sure of that. On his first day on the job, Oliver had to tackle a prototypically perfect and meaty “Daily Show” story, one full of hypocrisy, absurdity and real stakes. Sitting in his boss’s seat, he delivered a classic “Daily Show” rant that ended, as the best ones do, with a gut punch: “We’re not saying anyone broke any laws, we’re just saying it’s a little bit weird that you didn’t have to.”

A week into his tenure, Oliver is, if anything, doing too good a job. On Thursday, when regular guest Fareed Zakaria sat down for an interview he told Oliver he was “staging a brilliant slow-motion coup against Jon Stewart,” which is true not because there’s any chance Oliver won’t give the gig back in three months, but because his stint makes it clear that ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” would be more accurately called “The Daily Show with a Bunch of Very Talented and Clever Writers.” (I'm still in awe of this gun phone bit.) Oliver won’t end up with his name in the title, but it will be hard to forget that it’s the writers who are the power behind the “Daily Show” throne.

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