On this week's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver became the self-proclaimed "queen of daytime talk." He declared that because the show claims to have just staged the biggest giveaway in the history of television, nearly doubling Oprah's estimated $8 million new car giveaway.
In a segment focused on how debt is purchased and collected with little to no regulation or protection for consumers, the show set out to prove how easy it is to start a debt buying company by starting one themselves. With that company they purchased nearly $15 million in debt for $60,000. Instead of collecting that debt, they released 9,000 people from their past due medical debt.
Oliver is not a stranger to stunts that prove a point, like when he became a televangelist to get un-taxable donations or when he purchased ads for "Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat" as a new spokesperson for big tobacco. But this week's stunt may have transcended stunt-dom entirely, changing the lives of 9,000 people.
Before the big reveal, Oliver proclaimed, "Debt buying is a grimy business, and it badly needs more oversight. As it stands, any idiot can get into it. I can prove that to you, because I'm an idiot. And we started a debt-buying company. And it was disturbingly easy."