With jokes and rhymes, John Oliver and Lin-Manuel Miranda teamed up Sunday night to address Puerto Rico’s economic crisis. Above, the duo explains how the federal government has done more to exacerbate the U.S. territory’s woes than fix them, thanks to legal loopholes, school and hospital closures, and industrial collapse.
The Last Week Tonight host begins with a 19-minute deep dive that ultimately shows how the island struggles with “all the plagues that were too think-y for the Bible” and why it’s imperative Puerto Rico restructure its insurmountable $70 billion debt for its 3.5 million inhabitants. “We need to stop treating Puerto Rico like it’s just a tax haven or a place to have terrifying sex with a stranger in a coconut mask,” Oliver says. “Instead, we have to start treating it like an island of American citizens whose fate is interwoven with ours.”
Alex Lacamoire and Miranda — who has been fighting for the same cause and is the son of Puerto Rican immigrants — then closed the show with a musical plea: “The great debate over statehood has to wait; that’s Rose and Jack on the Titanic asking, When’s our next date?” Miranda spits over montunos. “It’s nonpartisan, the hard part is in convincing Congress Puerto Rico matters so their heart is in the fight for relief, not a bailout, just a relief, a belief that you can pass legislation to ease our grief. Paul Ryan, I’ll come sing Hamilton at your house, I’ll do-si-do with Pelosi, I’ll wear my Hamilton blouse. Your citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico, it’s just 100 miles across!”
Update: Lin-Manuel Miranda posted the full lyrics to Tumblr on Monday afternoon: