British Comedian John Oliver’s weekly half-hour show, Last Week Tonight, on HBO, tackles many a serious topic, and is know for its irreverence, candour and mirth when it comes to discussing the big stuff.
And then sometimes, he just likes to do something funny; for shits and giggs.
In a segment during yesterday’s episode, Oliver featured one of his now-famous acts of generosity (last year he famously bought US $14 million worth of debt, before wiping the slate clean for people who’d defaulted on unpaid medical bills), by purchasing some sweet merch, in aid of the failing Blockbusters of Alaska.
Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy a few years ago (who’d have thought the the internet would take off, eh), but there are three franchises that still operate in Alaska, where high-speed internet is sparse, and streaming films over the internet is expensive.
Oliver posited that perhaps they might be better suited for survival if, like Planet Hollywood, they had some expensive and rare film memorabilia on display, to attract visitors (ironically, a formula that didn’t save Planet Hollywood from bankruptcy. Twice.)
Given that Russell Crowe’s “The Art of Divorce” auction happened ten days ago, the British funster revealed that it was indeed him that purchased one of the more questionable items in the line up: a leather jockstrap, period correct to the ’30s, worn by Crowe in the film Cinderella Man.
But he didn’t stop there: he also successfully bid on a satin set of boxing shorts and gown from the same film, a pair of director’s chair-backs from the set of American Gangster (bearing both Crowe’s and Denzel Washington’s names, respectively), a hood worn by the antipodean thesbian in Robin Hool, and a vest from the wardrobe of Les Misérables.
The collection of reasonably useless gear set the popular talk show host back (or rather, HBO back) a cool US $62,000.
Tying off the short segment, he implores an Alaskan Blockbuster to get in touch with him within two days, so that he can gift them the goods. And if they don’t want it? “I know a transport museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that I’m sure could make room for a new exhibit”, Oliver chirps, an allusion to his last exorbitant overspend: a, 18 x 16 foot working train set that was custom-built for a local TV station in Scranton, after their old one broke.