For those wanting a cool laugh in the midst of the past several months’ hot rhetoric, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, on his “Colbert Nation,” delivered big-time on April 6. His program that evening featured a “Science Catfight” pitting Accu-Weather’s skeptical meteorologist Joe Bastardi against the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Brenda Ekwurzel.
Viewers knew from the start they were in for a typically Colbertian news-jag: he opened by welcoming audiences in the studio, those watching on cable TV, and those coming in through “fuzzy_panda_butt_munch.com.”
He followed-up by saying recent East Coast cold weather had convinced him there is nothing to the climate change science issue. The snow “was freezing cold,” he dead-panned. He next cited “an alarming trend” – temperatures of 10 degrees on February 6 had given way to April 6’s temperature of 80 degrees. “At this rate, by August it will be 220 degrees.”
Colbert flippantly characterized meteorologists as “TV weathermen who do short-term forecasting, and sports if Rusty is on vacation.”
With images of Einstein buffered by those of fighting cats, Colbert pointed to TV meteorologists with names like “Storm,” “Raines,” and “Sprinkle.”
“Those are names I can trust,” Colbert said, welcoming the UCS scientist as about to be “crushed beneath the heel of common sense.”
Introducing the “catfight” combatants after a series of comical introductory lead-in video snippets, Colbert opened by asking former collegiate wrestler Bastardi “What do you bench?”
Over 400 pounds at an earlier age, Bastardi replied, followed by Ekwurzel’s one-word reply to the same question: “Science.”
Challenging projections of increased sea level rise, Colbert wondered if the cause might be “Americans getting fatter and going swimming.”
He pointed to Bastardi’s call for something analogous to a Lincoln-Douglas debate, and to Ekwurzel’s concerns with such a format. “Why are you pro-slavery?” he asked her.
Asking if climate isn’t “just made up of thousands of little weathers,” Colbert, laid back and feet up on the desk, asked why Ekwurzel “wants to keep the glaciers chained to the North Pole” while “Joe and I want to free them into the North Atlantic.”
A good time was had by all. Or, at the very least, by both of Colbert’s guests, Bastardi and Ekwurzel, and they and his studio audience left the segment laughing and with smiles.
More than can be said about most climate change dialogues over the past few months.
View it … and enjoy it. You too deserve a good laugh.