Late-night TV’s kings and queen of comedy took on climate change on Wednesday night. It was a concerted effort to raise awareness. (Though at this point we need less awareness, more action.)
Earther had, shall we say, some reservations about sequestering climate comedy to one night and how certain hosts might approach it given their past work. But we put those trepidations aside and pulled out our reporters’ notebooks to see how Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah handled the topic.
We wanted to see who aimed their jokes at the systems that have caused the climate crisis and who went for the cheap laughs. Watching the hosts’ opening monologues and climate-focused segments, it became clear who the posers were and who spent time grappling with how to use Wednesday’s unified front to go after the powerful people and corporations that are responsible for the mess we’re in and consider the future we could have if we kicked them to the curb.
Here, we present a total and complete ranking of the hosts who understood how comedy can be a powerful tool to galvanize the public and the hosts who are just here for the lols.