Kit Steinkellner
August 23, 2015 10:40 am

It’s no secret that we love comedian John Oliver and his HBO late-night talk and news satire show Last Week Tonight. From that time Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden to that time he made his own sex ed video, Oliver always keeps us informed while simultaneously cracking us up.

Recently, Oliver and Company* did a segment on televangelists, specifically “prosperity preachers,” who claim that if you send these televangelists money, miracles will happen in your life and you will become super-rich. To make matters worse, because these televangelists call their organizations “churches,” the IRS basically does little-to-no investigation into these fraudulent practices.

“The IRS regulations are close to meaningless,” Oliver explained in the segment “We actually asked the IRS how many churches they’ve audited in recent years and they did one in 2014 and just two in 2013. When you can operate with so little oversight, it is amazing what you can do.”

To prove how ridiculous this practice is, Oliver used the IRS’ super-loose restrictions re: setting up and taxing religious institutions to start his OWN “church,” the hilariously-titled “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” complete with website, P.O. Box where viewers could send money, and an amazing infomercial in which Rachel Dratch plays Oliver’s wife.

The segment went super-viral (in one week it received over 5 million views), and now it looks like Oliver’s stunt just might pressure the IRS to launch a real investigation into these “prosperity preachers” and charge these televangelists with whatever fraud they find.

As CBS News reports, the IRS, at this time, is declining to comment on the situation, but it stands to reason that with this level of public scrutiny now being directed at this most-shady televangelical practice, the IRS will amp up their investigations into prosperity preachers.

And if wrongdoing is found (and, real talk, it’s kind of hard to imagine wrongdoing is not going to be found), it will be because of John Oliver, his team, and their A+ reporting.

We love Oliver’s comedic brand of vigilantism and we can’t wait to see which crimes he hilariously avenges next.

*Disney animation reference absolutely intended

Related:

Here’s why John Oliver is starting his own church

John Oliver, Nick Offerman, and Lavern Cox give us the sex ed lesson we’ve been waiting for

Image via HBO

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