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How John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ Is Using Stunts To Tell Stories

It’s bizarre to news a apparent squeeze and redemption of scarcely $15 million in medical debt as “impish,” though bear with me.

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, horde John Oliver spent 20 mins explaining a debt-buying courtesy — companies that buy debt during pennies on a dollar and afterwards possibly resell it even cheaper or try to collect it, infrequently regulating methods they’d substantially be unapproachable to call merciless, like job a debtor’s trainer during home. Even if many of it can’t be collected, whatever they collect, they can keep.

At a end, he explained that Last Week Tonight wanted to infer that “any idiot” can get into a business of shopping and collecting people’s aged debts. And how improved to infer it than being that idiot? Oliver pronounced that a uncover had incorporated a debt-buying association for $50 on a Internet, and with roughly no effort, they’d been offering a portfolio for sale of scarcely $15 million in “out-of-statute medical debt,” that he explained as debt that still exists and that we can try to collect, though it’s so aged that we can’t take anyone to justice over it anymore. The cost of that debt? Under $60,000. (With those numbers, you’d make some-more than 100 percent distinction if we collected only 1 percent of what was owed.)

John Oliver starts a new deteriorate of his comedy uncover Last Week, Tonight on Feb. 14. He says he wants to tackle a many severe topics, either that is perplexing to explain some of a NSA's minute programs, or either that's putting a cowboy shawl on a cat.

So, he says, they bought it. And, Oliver explained, with a pull of a hulk red button, they started a routine of strictly forgiving it with a assistance of a nonprofit classification that helps get absolved of debt though taxation implications for a debtor.

Oliver and his group are creation a robe out of these kinds of demonstrations, as when they started a church called Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption to infer how easy it is to make yourself a tax-exempt organization. (He did indeed get donations, that he reported were sent along to Doctors Without Borders.) It’s identical to how Stephen Colbert set adult a real superPAC called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, that wound adult being a flattering concerned process.

What Oliver is doing feels shaggier, sillier, only as incisive, and eventually formed on a really elementary idea: He has income and he has other resources (lawyers, staff and so forth). In further to behaving as a comedian and a TV host, he can act a approach a chairman with those resources can act, to uncover we what can be finished with those things during your disposal. You can start a church. You can buy and sell debt. Look — he only did it.

Chechen informal personality Ramzan Kadyrov speaks as he attends celebrations imprinting Defenders of a Fatherland Day in Chechnya's provincial collateral of Grozny, Russia, in February.

When Last Week Tonight started, there was a lot of conjecture about how it could contest with shows like The Daily Show that were … well, daily, and how it could seem stream when it had to wait until Sunday to air. That’s, in fact, a fun of a title.

But as it turns out, they had a plan. Last Week Tonight usually starts with a shorter shred about things from a week’s news, afterwards dives into a prolonged news about something privately renowned by a fact that it’s not in a headlines, definition they’ve had time to do a stating and a research. They’ve figured out that they can’t contest on prohibited topics alone — though they can browbeat not-really-hot topics, with specific importance on a exploitation of exposed people and regulatory dysfunction. The segments on debt-buying and televangelism, though also on credit scores, 911 funding, and open defenders, aren’t indispensably in a news that week; they’re a kind of ongoing emanate that can be a hardest to get people to compensate courtesy to.

For great out loud, they did a shred on special districts (like glow districts or butterfly control districts), that competence be a unsexiest shred I’ve seen on radio this year or any year.

Leif Parsons for NPR

Not each subject lends itself to a kind of philharmonic that final night’s red-button impulse created. But for a uncover that’s clearly dedicated to going over “LOL newsmakers LOL media,” they’re apropos a pivotal partial of a formula. They’re stunts though not only stunts; they’re like experiments in doubtful manipulation. The outcomes are meant to be positive, though a strategy itself, once demonstrated, is a story.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2016/06/06/480933956/how-john-olivers-last-week-tonight-is-using-stunts-to-tell-stories