Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapper, composer, and the creator of the wildly popular Hamilton musical, appeared on last night’s edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to talk about a topic near and dear to his heart: Puerto Rico. With a May 1 deadline for the US Commonwealth to restructure its $70 billion debt, Miranda wrote a rap to help implore US officials to grant the territory immediate economic relief. As Oliver explains in his monologue, Puerto Rico can’t file for bankruptcy because of an unexplainable 1984 law, adding levity by adding, “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.”
Miranda brought a much-more serious tone to the conversation with his verse, which started, “A commonwealth with not a lot of wealth, a not-quite nation, $70 billion topic of conversation. Hoping to God John Oliver’s comical dissertation resonates with the Congress that got us in this situation. Along with suicidal tax incentive declarations, ‘Yeah we’ll pay your bonds first, close the hospital, fuck the patients. This is an island, 100 miles across. A hurricane is coming and we’re running up a loss.”
Miranda’s appearance comes on the heels of his New York Times op-ed in which he advocated for “an act of Congress in support of restructuring [that] would help bring creditors to the table to develop a workable plan that could satisfy debtholders and relieve the punishment of the people of Puerto Rico.” He also appeared in front of Congress last month offering free tickets to Hamilton if they would address this “fixable problem.”
Miranda ended his rap with an offer to Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi: “Paul Ryan, I’ll come sing Hamilton at your house, I’ll do-si-do with Pelosi, I’ll wear my Hamilton blouse. Our citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico, it’s just 100 miles across!”
You can watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s performance on Last Week Tonight below.