"Climate change is here, and it's bad, y'all," comedian Stephen Colbert commented over recent footage of raging wildfires, floodwaters surging through European streets, and hurricanes wreaking havoc on New York's subway system.
Seven late night comedy hosts devoted a portion of each of their shows on Wednesday evening to discussing climate change as part of a coordinated effort to raise awareness about the looming environmental crisis.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," "The Late Late Show with James Corden," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and' "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" all took part in Climate Night.
Colbert highlighted how most countries have fallen short of fulfilling their goals outlined in the 2015 UN climate talks, and how a stunning 25 per cent of the House of Representatives and 30 per cent of the Senate refuses to even acknowledge human-caused climate change, according to the Centre for American Progress.
Samantha Bee tackled sewage and water infrastructure, which she admitted was so relentlessly 'unsexy' that she initially didn't even want to touch the topic. But she highlighted sewage and sanitation as a major problem in America, compounded by extreme weather and aggravated by systemic social issues such as racism.
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On Kimmel's show, scientists — including an environmental analytical chemist, a polar ecologist and climate scientist — went on an expletive-ridden tirade scolding viewers for not listening to them when they went on TV five years ago urging people to take the climate emergency more seriously.
Right-wing news network Fox News criticized the comedians' efforts, framing their discussion of the looming climate crisis as a mere parroting of "liberal talking points." While some critics (including Fox TV host Greg Gutfeld) mocked Climate News as being 'virtual signaling' and 'no longer comedy' for some viewers, that was exactly the point — no more joking around on climate.
Kimmel took a sober tone in his segment to remind viewers that climate inaction isn't limited to Republican politicians, and that the Biden administration has continually pushed for more offshore oil drilling. He said the Biden government, in fact, has quietly granted more oil and gas permits than any year of the Trump administration. Kimmel and other comedy hosts pointed out governments were consistently failing to take action to mitigate the climate crisis, and explained practical tips on how people can de-politicize climate change and turn it into a discussion about creating a livable planet for future generations.