Speed Reads

John Oliver Explains

John Oliver colorfully explains why you should avoid payday lenders at all cost

On Sunday night's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver earnestly dove into the world of "predatory lending," focusing specifically on payday loan companies. They offer what are supposed to be short-term loans, but if you don't pay the money back on time — as many people don't — annual interest rates can be as high as 1,900 percent. "Payday loans are the Lay's potato chips of finance," Oliver explained. "You can't have just one, and they're terrible for you."

After running through some entertainingly awful stories about the payday loan industry in Texas, Illinois, Arizona, and Ohio, Oliver conceded that the reason payday loan companies are so insidious is that sometimes people need money right away — even though a majority of Americans agree that payday lenders take advantage of them. To counteract the flood of payday loan commercials, often starring Montel Williams, Oliver aired a new "ad" by a different celebrity explaining why you would really, really exhaust all other options before turning to a payday lender — and listing some mildly NSFW options. --Peter Weber