Time once again for our weekly visit to the British Comic Bummer Corner. On last night’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dug into the bankruptcy process, and—shocker!—found a system that seems fundamentally broken. Something that purports to help those struggling with debt basically seems rigged in favor of the big credit card companies, with opportunistic lawyers (and their absurd TV ads) also getting in on the action. Add in the shame associated with declaring bankruptcy—egged on by rich TV blowhards like Suze Orman and that bald guy from the shark show who stole Paul Orndorff’s nickname—and you’ve got a good old-fashioned all-around raw deal. And of course, it doesn’t need to be that way, with some obvious and common-sense solutions that would improve the whole process, which just makes it all even more infuriating.
In the video below, Oliver breaks down the two main forms of personal bankruptcy in America, and how the option that’s more expensive and less likely to work out in the end is the one often pushed by bankruptcy lawyers and experts. As he often does, he then looks at some of the ways to fix the whole system—solutions that the companies who profit off bankruptcy aren’t in favor of, even if they would help people in need. And through it all Oliver remembers to be, you know, funny, even finding time for a dramatic recitation of Julianne Moore’s pharmacy monologue in Magnolia.
Look, this guy’s show has been on the air for like seven years now. You know the drill: it’s a quick overview of a depressing/infuriating topic, followed by ideas on how to fix it, with lots of jokes throughout. And if there’s any excuse to show an animal in human clothing, or to put a human in an animal costume, or to buy some tacky knick-knack off the internet, you know Oliver will take it. Check out last night’s main segment below, and find the full episode on HBO and HBO Max.