The top late-night shows will join forces this evening for “Climate Night” in partnership with Climate Week NYC’s summit.
Bo Burnham promised us all that he was going to heal the covid-addled world with comedy. It worked, for the most part, earning him an Emmy nomination. And now, seven of the top late-night talk shows aim to do the same thing around the climate crisis. Set your DVRs: tonight is Climate Night.
Late-night hosts Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah will all turn their show programming toward the climate crisis.
“I’m proud to dedicate one entire night of my show to the climate, so I can say I wasn’t part of the problem, I was 1/365th of the solution,” Colbert said in a statement.
In an Instagram post, The Daily Show said teen climate activist Greta Thunberg will be joining the program. Both TDS and its spinoff show Full Frontal With Samantha Bee cover hard-hitting topics regularly. But this is the first time this many late-night shows will align around a singular cause.
“I’m thrilled to participate in Climate Night,” said Bee. “But maybe we should move it up a few days? Just because, you know, it’s urgent?”
The concept was created by former “Daily Show” and “Patriot Act” showrunner Steve Bodow.
“Climate change has gone very fast from ‘probably the future,’ to ‘actually, right now’—which means we all need to be talking and thinking about it much more,” Bodow said. “Late-night hosts reflect our national conversation even more than Russian Twitter bots set it—so this incredible group of shows coming together makes a statement about the scale and urgency of the world’s hottest problem.”
“I don’t want to die,” said Kimmel.
“In the interest of recycling, please use whatever Jimmy Kimmel said,” said Fallon.
‘One of the defining issues of our time’
Academy Award winner and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio urged his Instagram followers to tune in .”Tonight, late night hosts are focusing their programming on one of the defining issues of our time: climate change,” he wrote.
But others aren’t so enthused. Gizmodo’s Molly Taft thinks it’s too little too late, and likely a surface level scraping, making light of the issues, which aren’t light at all, according to the latest UN warning.
“I’d be hard-pressed to write a joke about a wildfire or a deadly heatwave: There’s not a lot that’s humorous about vulnerable people suffering,” Taft wrote. “But the climate change era as a whole is nothing if not darkly comical. Here is an existential threat to humanity that oil companies have spent decades lying about to confuse the public and governments’ response has been to basically to just encourage us to recycle. The response to the climate crisis is literally laughable! Comedy is at its sharpest and most effective when people interrogate power structures, expose uncomfortable truths, and take a hard look at the forces that got us to the absurd precipice we’re on today, which isn’t exactly what Jimmy Fallon is, uh, known for.”
You can watch Climate Night programming on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.