Arts, Culture & Media

John Oliver Is the Best Thing To Happen To Voter Apathy Since 2008's Barack Obama

The last time John Oliver asked his audience to do something, he broke the FCC's website. On this week'sLast Week Tonight, he asked for another favor. It started with a hilarious, tragic, and trenchant16 minute and 16 second monologue about student debt, in which he called out for-profit colleges for taking advantage of its students. Oliver told his audience to send a letter to the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. He even gave thema running start:

John Oliver vs APSCU

(A rep for the APSCA was not available to answer questions about how many emails it received as a result of Oliver's appeal --- but the thousands of comments, likes, and shares on the show's Facebook post suggest it will take them a long time to get to inbox zero.)

We've known of the dangers of these for-profit colleges for some time. President Obama attempted to takeaction against them earlier this year. But sometimes it takes an Englishman on HBO to get the job done. With every impassioned monologue, Oliver converts comedy lovers into political participants, and that's refreshing. Other comedy shows have pretty low stakes, even those that specialize in political satire. When was the last time Bill Maher or Jon Stewart recommended opening a browser tab to do something? Colbert asks for favors, but most often they involve ballooningtheNation.

OnLast Week Tonight, John Oliver has quickly gained the trust of his audience. And in just a few months, he has used that trust to take action against legislation that's worse than laughable. On a show that doesn't pander to guests (or even have them, for that matter), Oliver and his writers are quickly building political heft. I can't wait to see what they do with it in 2016.

Watch the full segment here:

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