Last week, on the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast, British comedian John Oliver mentioned his college writing partner, Richard Ayoade. Maron asked if he should know who that is.

“No, not necessarily,” Oliver said. It wasn’t a diss on his Cambridge classmate, just a fact: Not many Americans know who Ayoade is, let alone can pronounce his last name (eye-oh-wa-deh).

That’s about to change. Ayoade stars alongside Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill in “The Watch,” out Friday. To prepare you for his big break, here’s a primer on his best work:

“The IT Crowd”
The British sitcom about tech-support workers starred Ayoade as the super-smart but socially idiotic Maurice Moss. (Netflix)

“Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace”
This parody of hospital dramas, which he directed, co-wrote and co-starred in, delights in purposefully bad production values and stilted acting. (Some clips on YouTube and

Ayoade’s directing debut, a coming-of-age story set in the ’80s, earned comparisons to Wes Anderson’s work. (Netflix)

Ayoade directed the “My Dinner With Andre” parody episode, in which Jeff and Abed have an emotionally raw discussion about “Cougar Town.” (Hulu)