John Oliver

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Oliver in 2010, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: John William Oliver

Place of Birth: Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 23 April, 1977

Ethnicity: English, Irish

John Oliver is an English comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. He has hosted the show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver since 2014.

John is the son of Carole (McNulty), a music teacher, and James B. Oliver, a school headmaster and social worker. His uncle, father’s brother, was composer Stephen Oliver (Stephen Michael Harding Oliver); biographical material, and a picture, of Stephen Oliver, can be found here. His parents are originally from Liverpool.

John is married to army veteran Kate Norley, with whom he has two children.

John’s paternal grandfather was Osborne George Oliver (the son of George Harding Oliver and Frances Mary Delano Osborne). John’s grandfather Osborne was born in West Derby, Lancashire. Frances was the daughter of Frederick Delano Osborne and Fanny Sainsbury.

John’s paternal grandmother was Charlotte Hester Girdlestone (the daughter of The Rev. Frederick Stanley Pears Lynn Girdlestone and Beatrice Victoria Margaret Boyd Carpenter). Charlotte was born in Ripon, Yorkshire. Frederick was the son of The Rev. Charles Frederick Girdlestone and Alice Ann Lynn. Beatrice was the daughter of The Rev. William Boyd Carpenter and Annie Maude Gardner.

John’s paternal great-great-grandfather, The Rev. William Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918), was the Bishop of Ripon, and a court chaplain to Queen Victoria. He was from a prominent family that produced many Church of England clergy.

John’s maternal grandparents’ surnames were McNulty and Kelly.

Source: Genealogy of John Oliver (focusing on his father’s side) –

25 Responses

  1. visokozen says:

    That’s what i call a rat!

  2. bakchoyhurl says:

    That face…

  3. Untermensch123 says:

    AHAHAH typical irish, the blacks of europe

  4. gel says:

    Good comedian. The Irish are often behind the comedy in Britain – in Liverpool and suchlike.

    Did you know that what you think of as “English comedy”, such as Monty Python came directly from the comedy of Irishman Spike Milligan! (Goon Show, Q5 etc.)?

    • Seger says:

      Yawn! You Irish really are insecure aren’t you…lol. Where are all the great Irish born Comedians/musicians, etc…

      Spike Milligan? He was only half Irish — that doesn’t make him an “Irishman”.

      I guess the great literary tradition of Ireland can be traced back to the British, as almost all of the greats are of British descent:

      Jonathan Swift
      Oscar Wilde
      Edmund Burke
      Bram Stoker
      George Bernard Shaw
      Samuel Beckett

      All Britons! Right?

      • gel says:

        He was an Irish citizen – that makes him Irish, no?

        And the above list just proves how much the Irish have given to literature and human thought – right?

        • Seger says:

          Actually, I wasn’t aware that he’d taken Irish citizenship, but if the British had renewed his passport — I doubt it would have crossed his mind to become an Irish citizen.

          Actually, it proves how much the British have given to literature and world thought.

          • Seger says:

            * world = human


          • gel says:

            Insecure, eh?

            The Irish behind British Rock: The Beatles, Lonnie Donegan, Pete Townsend, Johnny Rotten, Morrissey. The Smiths, David Bowie, Donovan, Sting….

            Invention! – just like with comedy and Drama.

            You’re good at copying, though.

          • crunty says:

            The English brought about the English language, although some Irish folk would challenge and dispute that. Hilarious.

        • ses101 says:

          So, by your reckoning, if someone has Irish blood they are Irish, no matter where they are born or how little Irish blood they have. But if they are born in Ireland, or have Irish citizenship, but don’t have Irish blood, you still count them as Irish? Talk about twisting facts to suit an argument.

      • AdamMartin says:


        Where are the great Irish born comedians? Jimmy Carr,Dara o’Briain, Dylan Moran.
        England has Stewart Lee.Beyond that, I’m at a loss to think of anyone good.Scotland has all the UK’s best comedians, and to spare us another argument I’ll avoid pointing out the common denominator in their family trees…
        You are partially right about the Irish writers,although they are mostly mixed with “native” Irish.You’ve mistakenly based that claim on their religion,which is presumably why you included Burke, a man with no British ancestry whatsoever.

  5. andrew says:

    he resembles his uncle. “Oliver” is often Scottish.

    • ses101 says:

      The name Oliver has some Scottish origins, but, speaking as a Scot, I can safely say he doesn’t look remotely Scottish. Not that there is one set look here, but the only people with his kind of features here are usually from down south or further afield.

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