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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

John Oliver and Keegan-Michael Key rain on your Bitcoin-raining dreams on Last Week Tonight

Keegan-Michael Key, John Oliver
Keegan-Michael Key, John Oliver
Screenshot: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

At the beginning of his extended main story about the financial “Wild West” that is the burgeoning, huckster-crawling landscape of cryptocurrency on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver showed a clip of a guy in a blinking Bitcoin suit explaining what this new economic paradigm actually is. And, while Oliver wanted to make fun of someone in a silly costume breaking down the details of an impossibly complicated issue, he had to concede that, not only was shiny coin costume guy doing a decent job, but that that strategy could also describe “literally the entire business model of this fucking television show.” (Mr. Nutterbutter approves.) Still, Oliver took a shot at explaining the volatile commodity/sort-of legal tender that is cryptocurrency, or “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.”

And while Oliver didn’t bring out his own cryptocurrency mascot (Coiny the Magic Bitcoin?), he did—noting the irrationally lucrative effect even the willy-nilly addition of cryptocurrency language has had on various companies’ stock—rechristen his show Last Bit Tonight With Block Chainover, if only for the moment. Indeed, Oliver did a decent job himself of breaking down the risks, possible system-changing rewards, and colorful/ludicrous personalities involved in this wildly speculative financial system. (He suggests that investing with anyone from The Mighty Ducks franchise—or Steven Seagal, for that matter—might be worth a second thought.) So go ahead and watch the clip as opposed to a third-hand attempt at dumbing down the subject. Especially since Oliver did eventually bring out, well, not a mascot exactly, but another of his celebrity guest stars in the form of Keegan-Michael Key. Key, exuberantly imitating one Carlos Matos of the extremely “dodgy” cryptocurrency concern BitConnect, co-opted Matos’ meme-worthy bombast in order to attract possible investors to the concept of, as he put it, “Responsibilityyyyyy!!!!!” Summing up Oliver’s take on this suspiciously bubble-looking investment craze, Key warned that you should never invest money you can’t afford to lose, and that, for every ground-floor Google investment, there’s a ground-floor Google Glass investment that never gets past the first story.


Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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