Funny or Die: Franken and Letterman Take on Climate Change in Hilarious Web Series

Joe Romm

Joe Romm Founding Editor, Climate Progress

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has finally brought his trademark sense of humor to climate change.

The former Saturday Night Live comedian, now a U.S. senator, teamed up with comedian David Letterman on the first season of a new web series, “Boiling the Frog with Senator Al Franken.”

The series was created by the website Funny Or Die and “the geniuses behind Years of Living Dangerously,” as Franken describes the producers of the Emmy award-winning climate change series in the hilarious first video.

Viewers of the series may recall that the second season, which aired on National Geographic Channel last fall, opened with Letterman traveling to India to see how that country is dealing with climate change and making increased use of solar power. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I serve as chief science adviser for the series).

“In Season Two we learned the value of integrating comedy into climate change storytelling,” Years of Living Dangerously executive producer Joel Bach explained in an email to ThinkProgress. “We decided that if we were ever to do a short-form series on the intersection of politics and climate, Senator Al Franken would top the list.”

Bach, a former 60 Minutes producer, added, “fortunately Senator Franken loved the idea and the result is ‘Boiling the Frog,’ a series that we hope will gives audiences a sense of the many hurdles lawmakers face when trying to make progress on climate. All with a few laughs.”

Franken has emerged as a true climate champion, fighting back against the misinformation and outright climate science denial spread by the Trump administration, as we have been reporting.

Other episodes in the web series have Franken telling Letterman who is really behind the inaction in Washington on climate change; the two men taking on Trump for having no idea why coal jobs are really disappearing; a look at why Letterman’s beard is actually a weapon in the fight to control carbon emissions; and Letterman answering Franken’s question, “Dave, when you were in India, why did you seem so stupid?”

You can watch the entire web series right now on FunnyOrDie.com.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work