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'Daily Show' soccer fan to live a dream

by David Bauder
| June 11, 2010 9:00 PM

NEW YORK - John Oliver's job on "The Daily Show" is giving him an English soccer fan's dream: the chance to attend the World Cup - and perhaps more important - taunt the Americans before they take on his national team.

Oliver and producer Tim Greenberg left for South Africa earlier this week to file reports for Jon Stewart's Comedy Central show. Oliver, a soccer fanatic from Birmingham, England, left behind one earlier-filmed report, where he visited the American soccer team before their World Cup opening match with England this weekend. Oliver's report airs Thursday.

"It was a free exchange of opinions as to how the England game would go," Oliver said. "You can probably imagine how that degenerated."

The South African visit is the show's fourth international trip in four summers. Rob Riggle went to Iraq in 2007 and to China for the 2008 Olympics, and Jason Jones went to Iran last year. This year's trip was encouraged by Stewart, a former college soccer player.

Oliver, 32, has become an increasingly valuable member of "The Daily Show" team during his four years on the job, giving an outsider's often incredulous view of how his host country operates.

He keeps a signed jersey from his favorite team, Liverpool, hanging in his Comedy Central office, so the trip is a huge perk. Oliver dreamed of playing soccer professionally when he was a young boy.

An American victory over his home country is possible, Oliver said, "but I hope to high heaven that it does not happen, because I'm not even sure I can come back to the office if it does."

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