James Corden, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee teaming up for Climate Night on Wednesday is too little, too late, says Molly Taft. "The issue here is not how good or bad the laugh lines are," says Taft. "No, it’s the idea that devoting one night to covering climate makes up for the fact that these shows have largely ignored the biggest story on Earth for years." Taft adds: "People often use the fact that climate change is all-encompassingly depressing as a reason not to talk about it, let alone crack jokes. The idea that climate is so deeply unfunny that it can only be approached on one night and then forgotten the rest of the year is, however, just wildly wrong and lazy. There are people doing climate comedy, and doing it well, all over the internet. I spent about five minutes thinking about funny or joke-worthy stuff we’ve published on this very site and came up with a lot of possible fodder for the late-night TV writers’ rooms....The comedians who will be doing the standup thing of confronting our planetary crisis on Wednesday night have raked in millions of dollars over the past five years making nonstop jokes about Donald Trump. The former president is an incredibly easy target, and in many respects, the jokes simply write themselves. But the Trump administration was one of the most deeply unfunny moments in American history...Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. A millionaire like Seth Meyers making a joke about a president that looks like a Cheeto is a little different than joking about the political system that delivered him to power in the first place. Much of these hosts’ Trump jokes were driven by the fact that people paid attention: There was a lot of money to be made out of the attention economy with easy jokes about the president’s hair. Those kinds of surface-level jokes do nothing to rattle power structures; they can even make people in charge feel more comfortable and chummy with their court jesters. (Remember Jimmy Fallon playfully mussing Trump’s hair?) But humor can expose abuses of power at play. Comedy can be a way to keep people engaged in what’s happening and undercut bad people and forces in power by making them look weak and laughable. There’s a lot of opportunity here with regards to climate, if comedy shows want to take it—John Oliver famously pissed off coal magnate Bob Murray so much with one of his segments that Murray sued HBO. (Murray lost and is now dead. Presumably these things are unrelated.)"
TOPICS: Samantha Bee, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Climate Change, Late Night