Scott McGibbon is a Project Specialist at the Lear Center; Matt Rose is Program Manager at Hollywood, Health & Society
Climate change, the looming tragedy of our lives, is happening at a speed and a scale we can barely comprehend. This threat is as dangerous to human life, liberty and happiness as either WWII or the Cold War in the last century. All of the current science indicates we face a very dark future indeed. Insert joke here.
Wait – there’s nothing funny about climate change. But perhaps comedy and laughter will be essential tools in getting everyone to pay attention to climate change, helping us face the culture and lifestyle changes that are imminent, and allowing us stress relief and a bit of, you know, joy, in grim times.
Russell Brand, in his recent manifesto, took pains to point out that “Serious causes can and must be approached with good humour, otherwise they’re boring and can’t compete with the Premier League and Grand Theft Auto.”
So what’s funny about climate change? Well, what was funny about Hitler? Or total nuclear annihilation? In WWII and the Cold War, plenty of effort across Allied culture went into new weapons, new ways of thinking and just plain hard work and fighting, but there were many times when situations were so grim and hopeless that only humor, often gallows humor, made getting through a day possible. Witness this historical humor:
Hitler is funny here:
And later, also funny here:
You want Cold War yucks? Watch this:
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So which comedy writers and performers today can see that “climate” has a funny “K” sound built right in? Where’s the sharp, wickedly funny PSA campaign or regular sketch on a TV show that will help us focus on this issue and entertain us as we leave behind outdated ways of living and behaving on this beautiful blue planet?
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And the rest of you funny people in Hollywood and around the world? Could you roll up your sleeves and get busy?
Well, humor is the great thing, the saving thing, after all. — Mark Twain