Laughing in the Face of Death, How Climate Change Comedy Could Help Us Tackle the Biggest Threat Humanity Has Ever Faced
Climate Change Comedy: According to comedians, social scientists, and environmentalists, bringing some laughter to the push to prevent climate change is something that could be immensely beneficial.
Heavy topics are difficult to talk about.
Environmentalism is a touchy subject. We all are affected directly by climate change in one way or another, yet many of us feel hopeless.
Climate change is a well-known phenomenon. Although most people acknowledge that humans have an outsized role in perpetuating it, only half believe that something can be done about it, according to a 2022 AP-NORC poll.
This is disconcerting because it is necessary for all of us to pull our weight and help out in the ways we can. One way that some comedians, social scientists, and environmentalists say that we can alleviate this inaction is by laughing about it: climate change comedy.
This is how comedians and comedy could be incredibly useful in preventing climate doom and encouraging action to prevent climate change.
Climate Change is Everywhere
Climate change and environmentalism have seeped their way into culture in myriad ways as we increasingly feel its effects. From TV shows casually mentioning the end of the world to more dystopian movies in which climate change is a central plot point.
However, what isn’t being done as much and what many argue should be done more is a more lighthearted and funny approach. Comedy, even about heavy topics such as climate change, can motivate people to act rather than languish in despair.
Caty Borum, a professor at American University and author of “The Revolution Will Be Hilarious: Comedy For Social Change And Civic Power,” said, “Those are routes to persuasion because we’re being entertained and because we’re feeling emotions of play – and this is particularly important for climate change.”
One group is tackling this head-on, The Climate Change Comedy Cohort. Made up of nine comedians, they participated in a nine-month fellowship learning about climate science and solutions and collaborated on new climate-related material. They created shorts, toured together, and pitched ideas to television networks.
Their work is part of a broader effort to bring some laughter to a quite heavy topic. In Los Angeles, a group of comedians put on a show in April called “lol climate change: a show.”
It is common for comedy to come out of tragedy as a coping mechanism and as a form of therapy to help get over the inflicted trauma. Marc Maron’s new special, “From Bleak To Dark,” delves into the death of his partner, Lynne Shelton. In her new special, “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby talks about her experience of being sexually assaulted.
On stage, Kat Evasco, part of the Climate Change Comedy Cohort, references how gas stoves are bad for the planet. “I am doing my part for climate change. I have never even used my gas stove … since I started that fire.”
See also: Climate Change Board Games Inspire Hope.
Truth Is Necessary, but We Can Still Laugh About It
Acknowledging the truth surrounding climate change is important because we are simply deluding ourselves without factual information. However, though the truth is bleak, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Perhaps there will be enduring long-term consequences from the mistakes of our ancestors, but it doesn’t mean that the world will stop turning. And it doesn’t mean we should lie down and wait to die.
Climate change comedy could be an essential tool in alleviating the tragedy climate change has bestowed upon us. And by essentially laughing in the face of existential annihilation, we may very well be equipped to prevent that from happening altogether.