Planet Gore

Global Warming Hits Our Funny Bone

A leading Australian comedian says global warming could dramatically reduce the amount of humor in the former British colony and prison camp.

“Because of climate change, in 25 years, we won’t have a comedy festival. . . . The money that we need for [a] comedy festival will be needed for solving the problems of the next cyclone or the next bushfire or the next flood,” Rod Quantock said at the opening of the 25th Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

While Quantock’s views represent the consensus among Australian humorists at the conference, which is heavily subsidized by the government, there are a handful of dissenting comedians who feel global warming has been a boon to the funny business. They’re skeptical that fossilized jesters are an accurate measure of the true state of planetary mirth. In fact, a little global warming may be good for belly laughs.

They point to the Gore effect (“where he goeth, it snoweth”) as well as the tendency of international climate summits to be overwhelmed by cold weather, even when held in tropical settings such as Cancun, Mexico.

A comprehensive study by the American Enterprise Institute last week found that the name “Al Gore” in comic sketches elicits laughter 63 percent of time, while the name “Dick Cheney” Does 24 percent of the time. Previous surveys for years showed most Americans felt Cheney was a bigger joke than the rotund activist and carbon millionaire. Gales of laughter from Republicans have even forced the current administration to scale back its signature anti-carbon initiative: ambitious plans for a national high-speed-rail network.

In a related development, Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground, said that global warming was likely responsible for the recent winter weather that, at one point, left 49 of the 50 states with snow cover. The announcement was made at a news conference on Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It was not published in a peer-reviewed study in an academic journal, though there were reports that the Onion’s crack satirical team was reviewing Masters’s work.

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