John Oliver Just Beat Oprah For Biggest TV Giveaway Ever
You get debt forgiveness! You get debt forgiveness!
The Robin Hood Of Late Night Television
With the push of a comedically large red button, John Oliver forgave nearly $15 million dollars of medical debt on his show "Last Week Tonight."
The move was the cherry on top of a deep-dive investigation into the American debt-buying industry, which Oliver criticized for its lack of ethics and regulation.
"Any idiot can get into [the debt buying business]," said Oliver on Sunday, "and I can prove that to you because I'm an idiot and I started a debt buying company and it was disturbingly easy."
For just $50, Oliver set up his own debt collection agency based in Mississippi and called it "Central Asset Recovery Professionals," or CARP, "after a bottom feeding fish." With nothing more than a simple website, CARP was able to buy nearly $15 million in medical debt for the low price of $60,000. That's less than half a cent on the dollar for the debts of roughly 9,000 Americans.
Armed with ownership of other people's debts, Oliver could have legally taken possession of that debt and had employees turn people's lives "upside down" with collections calls. Instead of collecting on the debt, however, he simply forgave it.
Still a comedian, Oliver pointed out that he pulled the stunt not only because "it's the right thing to do," but also because the $15 million giveaway would nearly double Oprah's $8 million "you get a car" episode, making TV history.
As cash fell from the ceiling, John Oliver closed the show with, "Fuck you, Oprah! I'm the new queen of daytime talk!" Amen.
Perhaps even more important than changing the lives of thousands of Americans, Oliver reminded the world that it's possible to use power for the good of others. People may start expecting much more of their political and economic leaders...