After almost a year of covering climate and pop culture, I can say that some kinds of artists seem much more likely to engage with the climate crisis. Musicians are definitely one (see: Pitbull naming his 2012 album Global Warming… dude was ahead of his time.) The sleeper pick? The one you might not expect? Comedians. For instance, a couple weeks ago, we covered John Oliver’s environmental justice segment, and he’s already back at it with a take down of utilities.
That’s why I couldn’t have been more excited this week to see that people are actually investing in climate comedians! Generation 180, a nonprofit focused on the transition to clean energy, is launching a Climate Comedy Cohort in collaboration with American University’s GoodLaugh and Center for Media and Social Impact. This cohort will be working toward projects that use climate science and humor to move people into hope and action. What could be better?!
The cohort isn’t messing around, either. When reading about the program I was struck by the quality of talent and teachers. The announcement emphasizes that, “The diverse group of newly-appointed CCC fellows ranges from Tik-Tok stars and accomplished stand-up comedians to writers and producers, all of whom want to amplify climate change solutions or already focus on environmental issues in their creative work and volunteer activities… The fellowship will be led by a group of comedy writers and performers who have worked with The Tonight Show, TruTv, VICELAND, Comedy Central, Spotify Original Podcast, and others.”
I get hopeful just thinking about how this investment in real people will pay off for our movement. When we invest in people, our movement thrives. Trainings, funds, networking, and opportunities are all critical to making sure our people are ready to go up against the well-funded, entrenched interests of the fossil fuel corporations. And that includes climate competent comedians! All too often, we make the mistake of thinking that because the climate crisis is a major threat — someone else is working on it. So, we avoid investing in the people to actually do this work.
The truth is that we are all needed. No one is coming to save us, except each other. I have high hopes that, through their fellowship, the Climate Comedy Cohort can learn to reach new people in new ways and spur them to action. Be sure to check out their website to stay up to date on their fall tour! I cannot wait to watch a generation of comedians ready to meet the challenges of this generation.