What do you get when you mix TV legend Norman Lear with climate change experts and some of the funniest comedy writers around, and put them all in front of a packed house?
Punchline aside, the result was actually an energetic, sharp panel discussion titled “What’s So Funny About Climate Change?” that sometimes did get a bit boisterous—these were comedy writers and performers, after all—as it set out to answer this question: If global warming is such serious business, why do TV comedians get it right, covering the issue better—and more often—than films, dramatic series and even the nightly news? Is doom and gloom best served with a dose of humor?
In addition to Dr. Leiserowitz and Norman Lear, the Sept. 19 panel featured Rory Albanese, showrunner for The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore and former showrunner, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart; Chris Albers, writer for Borgia and writer/producer, Late Night, The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, and Late Show With David Letterman; Sidney Harris, science cartoonist for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and other publications; Lyn Lear, environmental activist and producer; and Lizz Winstead, co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and author of Lizz Free or Die: Essays. It was held at the WGAE in New York.
Serving as co-moderators for the panel were Michael Winship, senior writer, Moyers & Company, and president of the WGAE; and Marty Kaplan, director of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center.