Does humanity deserve a prolonged existence on Earth? Cockburn begs the question after learning that tonight is Climate Night on America’s late-night ‘light entertainment’ programs.
‘7 Shows. 1 Planet. Hot Enough For You?’, asks the poster, which depicts TBS’s Samantha Bee brandishing a whiteboard, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah, CBS’s Stephen Colbert and James Corden posing with globes, NBC’s Seth Meyers holding a pot plant…and stock images of his network mate Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who presumably care about the climate a little, but not enough to actually strike a pose for it.
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) September 22, 2021
Cockburn notes that in Kimmel’s tweets plugging the evening, an eighth program, Watch What Happens…Live! with Andy Cohen is also included. Perhaps seven shows wasn’t hot enough after all.
Climate Night takes place during ‘Climate Week NYC’, when various world leaders are in the Big Apple to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. After Climate Week NYC, said leaders will head to their home nations on airplanes and strike lucrative trade agreements with China, the world’s biggest polluter. It’s an annual tradition.
Guests on the talk-shows will include Jane Goodall (Fallon), John Kerry (Meyers), Greta Thunberg (Noah) and Bill Gates (Corden), fresh from his last interview appearance in which he maybe admitted to killing Jeffrey Epstein. Meanwhile Andy Cohen’s guests are a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills and some director. Maybe they have solar panels? Who knows — it all sounds like an absolute scream.
Cockburn doesn’t think late-night hosts have to make you laugh all the time — in fact some of the best talk-show television is when they just…talk, like Stephen Colbert’s interview with Joe Biden about grief back in 2015, or Seth Meyers’s more recent chat with his friend John Mulaney about drug addiction and rehab. But these days, all so-called ‘light-entertainment’ is heavy: it hectors and proselytizes about the hot New York-Los Angeles political topics du jour.
Cockburn’s drinking buddy Matt Purple assigns the blame to Jon Stewart for this, but unwanted expat John Oliver must also shoulder a fair chunk. They and their descendants are not in pursuit of laughter, but ‘clapter’.
The recently departed Norm Macdonald put it best:
‘There’s a difference between a clap and a laugh. A laugh is involuntary, but the crowd is in complete control when they’re clapping. They’re saying, “We agree with what you’re saying; proceed!”
‘But when they’re laughing, they’re genuinely surprised. And when they’re not laughing, they’re really surprised. And sometimes I think, in my little head, that that’s the best comedy of all.’
Cockburn can’t wait to see what the Gutfeld! panel has to say about all this — and to see the ratings when they come out later…
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