For one night, TV comics focus their shows on climate change

Media-Climate Comedy

NEW YORK (AP) — Sewage treatment, sea turtles and a depressing condom ad all came up when late-night television hosts united for one night to turn their comic lenses to climate change.

Eight late-night hosts devoted a portion of their programs Wednesday and early Thursday to the issue, part of a Climate Week initiative timed to the United Nations' General Assembly meeting in New York.

“Don't even think about switching to another show,” said ABC's Jimmy Kimmel. “We're all focused on this topic tonight. You can't escape. It's basically an intervention. Our future is in jeopardy.”

In one case, they even combined forces: CBS' James Corden and NBC's Seth Meyers used a split-screen to open their 12:30 a.m. shows together.

“Crisis solved,” said CBS' Stephen Colbert, “just as surely as when all of those celebrities sang ‘Imagine’ and ended COVID.”

Colbert's “Late Show” cold open was a fake ad for “Trojan Buzzkill,” a condom that's packed with a sobering climate change fact sure to dampen the mood.

Noting that it was the first day of fall, NBC “Tonight” show host Jimmy Fallon said that “some people are sad that summer's over. But thanks to climate change, it's not.”

Kimmel called his audience to action, opening his show with a montage of politicians and preachers in clips downplaying science. He showed a 2003 clip of the late Sen. John McCain trying to convince his colleagues that climate change was important. "We're still acting as if this is something we don't have to worry about for 20 years,” Kimmel said.

He called on viewers to contact recalcitrant lawmakers, flashing a Washington phone number on the screen, and quipped, “when the food supply gets low, they're the ones we're going to eat first.”

On “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah's monologue concerned little-known facts about climate change. Because the sex of sea turtles is determined in part by how hot the sand is where eggs are laid, there has been an abundance of female turtles, putting the species in long-term risk, he said.

That led to a series of jokes about overworked male sea turtles.

“It's going to make for some really lame gender reveal parties,” Noah said.