Jon Stewart actually encouraged John Oliver to leave 'The Daily Show' with these wise words

Jon Stewart had a lot to do with John Oliver’s decision to leave “The Daily Show,” so he could front his own show over at HBO.

Now as Oliver is starting his third season of “Last Week Tonight,” he has opened up about the decision to leave the Comedy Central show. It happened before Stewart went public with his plans to leave “The Daily Show.”

“He said to me, ‘We need to talk about what you’re going to do next,'” Oliver said in a new interview with New York magazine. “In your head, that sounds like you’re being fired, so that was pretty frightening. But what he wanted to say was that I needed to think about what I wanted to do next.”

Oliver had hosted “The Daily Show” over the summer of 2013 in place of Stewart, who was directing his first film, “Rosewater.” The British comedian’s tenure as host was met with rave reviews from critics. And Stewart knew that Oliver would need a change.

“He knew it was going to be hard to go back to my old job after having filled in for him,” Oliver said. “He was a little bit of a mother bird pushing me out of the nest. When I mentioned the offer from HBO, his face changed, and he said, ‘You would be insane not to take that.'”

He added, “As Jon said to me, ‘Once you touch the precious, you don’t want to give precious up.'”

Oliver took Stewart’s advice. In December 2013, he shot his last episode of “The Daily Show.” Only four months later, “Last Week Tonight” debuted on HBO.

“Working at that level of difficulty, it might have been difficult to go back to the old job,” Oliver said of the decision to move on. “I had to spring to at least an equivalent challenge, not go backward.”

NOW WATCH: Things you may not know about Jon Stewart, and how he got to ‘The Daily Show’

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