What do the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, the last remaining Blockbuster video store in Alaska, and US comedian John Oliver have in common?
Russell Crowe’s leather jockstrap.
Last month the Australian actor sold off his collection of sporting and film memorabilia in a “the art of divorce” auction, including the jockstrap he wore in Cinderella Man.
The estimated price was $500, but Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, paid $7000 for it. The comedian spent nearly $80,000 on Crowe film trinkets before donating them to the last Blockbuster video store in Anchorage, Alaska, on his show.
Crowe subsequently promised that if he was ever in the ‘hood, he’d drop by the store.
Kevin , if I’m ever in your part of the world I will drop in and say hey . https://t.co/0cblXaeURG
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) May 2, 2018
But before that, the Australian actor pledged to do “something special” to acknowledge Oliver’s “wonderful random act of kindness”.
I think this is such a wonderful random act of kindness that I am planning now on how to best use the @iamjohnoliver money he spent on groin protectors and such .
Given his often shown genuine love for Australians and Australia , it’s got to be something special . https://t.co/NcziHy5A2H
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) April 17, 2018
A few days later, Crowe revealed the muse had struck.
I’ve had a eureka moment on how to use @iamjohnoliver from @LastWeekTonight auction money . His random act of kindness is going to be honoured in such a cool way .
Yes, no surprise, it will involve wildlife . @rickygervais @jimjefferies @jimmycarr @edsheeran @edwina_b
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) April 18, 2018
And late last week, the result emerged at Australia Zoo in Queensland, run by Steve Irwin’s widow, Terri, with their children, Bindi and Bob.
The $80,000 has gone towards treating koalas with a new vaccine to tackle a chlamydia epidemic that’s devastated the species.
Around one third of Australia’s koala population has been lost over the last 20 years, with sexually transmitted disease a primary cause. It’s so widespread, the infection rate is between 50% and 100% in most colonies.
Australia Zoo took part in the first full medical trial of chlamydia vaccine in early 2016. Around 40% of koala admissions to the zoo’s wildlife hospital have been due to chlamydia, which can result in blindness, infertility and death.
There’s hope those efforts may also point the way towards a vaccine for humans.
And the kicker? Thanks to Crowe, John Oliver now has a koala chlamydia ward at the zoo named in his honour.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) May 3, 2018
On Sunday night, Oliver followed up on the news on his show, saying it “may honestly be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen”.
“Well played Russell Crowe. Well played indeed,” he said.
Oliver then announced that was the end of his show because after four years he’d achieved the one goal he had for Last Week Tonight – a koala chlamydia ward – and began packing his desk.
“What I’m essentially saying here is we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do on this show. Which means thanks very much everyone, but we are f**king done here. That’s right, let’s shut it down. This show is over,” he said.
We’ve achieved a koala chlamydia ward, so there’s nothing left for us to accomplish. pic.twitter.com/wll7kQwaF0
— Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) May 7, 2018
Here’s Oliver’s segment on the whole episode.
Well played all.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.