A Delightfully Altruistic Prank War

It’s rare that a prank war results in everyone walking away from it feeling elated. But I think it may have just happened in a very public fashion.

If you watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you probably know what I’m referring to. I’ll try to summarize the key steps here, but I need to leave out most of the details, as it would be a loooong blog entry if I explained everything.

  1. Actor Russell Crowe held a divorce auction in which he sold pieces of movie memorabilia from his career.
  2. Through his show, John Oliver overbid on a number of items, notably the leather jockstrap worn by Crowe in Cinderella Man.
  3. John Oliver donated the memorabilia to the last Blockbuster in Alaska as a way to help keep it open.
  4. Russell Crowe learned about the donation and decided to donate the proceeds to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
  5. Specifically, Russell Crowe put the funds towards koala health care, naming a ward in John Oliver’s name.

The name? “The John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward.”

I’m absolutely delighted by this. It’s the rare “prank” where both parties had some fun at the others’ expense, but both walk away having done something good.

I think it’s often all too easy to get defensive when someone brings attention to our weaknesses or embarrassments–like what John Oliver did–so I have to give Crowe credit for seeing this as an opportunity to have a laugh and make a difference. I’m going to remember this, as I hope I can do something like this someday.