John Oliver is robocalling the FCC to protest robocalls
In his latest signature rant, John Oliver takes on a truly universal villain: robocalls. "Hatred of them might be the only thing that everyone in America agrees on now," he says in the segment above, which aired on HBO's "Last Week Tonight" Sunday night. (The monologue includes some comically NSFW language, so if you're watching this at work, you probably want to wear headphones.)
Oliver name-checks some of the major companies involved in robocalling (including Capital One, Comcast and Wells Fargo, "all of whom use robocalls to chase debts"). He notes that it's so cheap and easy to deploy robocalling technology that one company providing call-blocking technology estimates that soon nearly half of all mobile calls may be scams (the show excerpts a CBS News report that cites research by First Orion). And he runs down some of the reasons why robocalls are exploding—including the uselessness of the National Do Not Call Registry (it only applies to sales calls, and scammers use spoofing technology to disguise their numbers and escape detection), and especially the FCC's toothless approach to "urging" telecom companies to address the crisis.
Speaking of the FCC, near the end of the segment Oliver reveals that his show's "tech guy" figured out how to set up a robocall program to dial each of the FCC commissioners every 90 minutes to demand action on robocalls—a scheme that's set in motion with the theatrical press of a prop button.
Also, speaking of telecom companies, during the segment Oliver twice insults his "business daddy" AT&T—the company owns Warner Media, which owns HBO—specifically slamming its call quality. "You've inherited a problem child," the "Last Week Tonight" host gleefully declares.