What: An illuminating segment on Italy’s upcoming election on Last Week Tonight.
Who: John Oliver
Why we care: One of the most fascinating things about Last Week Tonight, the multi-Emmy-winning late night show, is how host John Oliver pushes his viewers toward activism. Whether it’s with semi-silly ideas, like urging viewers to tweet a Jeff the Diseased Lung mascot image at Marlboro, or more sensible ones, like urging viewers to fight for net neutrality, his show has a habit of mobilizing viewers into participants. Now, Oliver himself is participating in a midterm year election stunt–but not for the election you might think.
On Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver announced his candidacy to become Italy’s next prime minister. He starts off by giving an overview of the election, which will take place on March 4 and has thrown the country into disarray. Italian law allows the nation’s ruling coalition to choose just about anyone to run the country, opposing the fascists and other fringe candidates–like comedian Beppe Grillo–who are in the race. Since there’s no citizenship requirement for whom the coalition chooses, Oliver has graciously thrown his hat in the ring. Although he will most likely not win, and almost certainly does not want to, the attention his candidacy draws to the election might actually help deter the country from electing the next Mussolini.