Monday, November 21, 2005

"Earth to America:" Celebrities stumping for a social cause? Now I've seen everything!

So last night, TBS aired Earth to America, an all-star comedy showcase designed to generate awareness for and action on behalf of global warming.

It should have been titled "Global Warming - it's not just for tree-huggers anymore!" That was pretty much the message - that it's a serious issue affecting the health and future of the planet and everything on it. Their stance was that it's not just about saving whale migration paths or whatever - it's about heading off a planetary catastrophe. Seriously, folks. And you know what? They actually expressed that message pretty convincingly. For celebrities, anyway.

As for the show itself, it was a bit of a mixed bag.

Will Ferrell, doing a spoof of President Bush taping a "Global Warmin' Talk," was hilarious. As he always is. He's got to be the most consistently funny American comic right now, bar none. I was actually surprised that he took a stand and lent himself to an issue like this. I wouldn't have figured him for that type.

I admit I didn't watch the entire thing (Sunday Night Football was on, too, after all - what's a dude to do?), but some of the funnier spots I saw were Rob Corddy (from "The Daily Show," driving around town in a stretch Hummer), Jack Black, Larry David, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. How is it that the Seinfeld cast is STILL the funniest group on television even though they stopped doing the show like 20 years ago? (Funniest cast except, of course, for "According to Jim." But that goes without saying.)

There were some duds, too. Bill Maher was okay but actually got booed a little by the audience because he is just that outspoken. He's preaching to his own choir, and he still stirs up dissension! I don't know if that's a gift or a curse for him. Also, Cedric "The Entertainer" sucked. He came out and did his usual "I'll never understand you white people" routine. "Global warming? That sounds like some stuff for white people," he riffed unpredictably, before shocking the audience by proclaiming that black people were cooler than white people, or something like that. Country singer Faith Hill, performing Christmas songs with a global warming twist ("Deck the Halls with Hexaflourides"),was just painful.

One of the biggest Star Power Moments of the evening was a sing-along by Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, and Monty Python's Eric Idle, but it was more confusing than anything else. Those guys are so famous that they can peel a sack of potatoes onstage and people will cheer. Unfortunately for this segment, however, I get the impression that they are well aware of that.

The show was created by Larry David's wife, Laurie, an environmental activist, which is the only reason I would guess that Larry got involved (his major environmental concern? Mercury in the tuna! "What am I supposed to have for lunch?" he laments. "I can't always have peanut butter!"). But it was cool to see him in a more "stand-up" capacity. Speaking of connected, I noticed Ron De Moraes directed the special. I wonder if he's related in any way to Washington Post TV critic Lisa De Moraes. Interesting.

Anyway, I'm curious as to what the ratings will be, and how many people will sign up to "join the virtual march on Washington" at Overall, I thought the show was funny, with just the right balance of levity and "soap-box" content, even if it was unfunny in spots and was unabashedly political (but when did that become such a taboo? When Democrats started doing it?). I give the show a B.

Have a great Monday!

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