Tim Robinson, a beloved comedian known for his writing work at “Saturday Night Live” and his oddball Netflix hit “I Think You Should Leave,” is using his distinctive style to take on a topic that doesn’t usually get a lot of laughs: climate change.
In a sketch for Yellow Dot Studios called “You Expect Me To Believe That?” Robinson plays a raucous TV show host “Ted Rack,” who cuts right to the chase.
“I’m sick and tired of scientists telling us mean, bad facts about our world in confusing ways,” he shouts. “So I have folks come on and tell us their terrible message in a way that’s easier to swallow.”
Robinson then proceeds to introduce the audience to his “new show,” which appears to be a parody of “Queer Eye.” He welcomes Henri F. Drake — an ocean and climate scientist at the University of California, Irvine — and gets him some new clothes to make him seem more down-to-earth. Or at least more entertaining.
The whole goal of the humorous PSA is to poke fun at those who continue to ignore the urgent messages scientists share about climate change.
“We helped this scientist make his message easier to swallow for people who don’t want to hear it,” Yellow Dot Studios describes the video. “Like elected leaders.”
Clocking in just over five minutes, the sketch delivers laughs as Robinson embodies his cocky character, filled with side-eyes and aggressive mannerisms.
“So like a normal guy, can you explain to me why I should care about climate change?” Robinson pushes Drake in the clip, crossing his arms confidently.
“The Earth exists in a delicate balance,” Drake begins, with perfectly-timed menacing music.
While the video mocks the idea of “dumbing down” scientific realities, it also does a great job of making the topic more engaging and easier to understand.
That’s exactly the initiative of Yellow Dot Studios, which is a nonprofit production studio founded by Adam McKay. You may know him as the Oscar-winning writer, director, and producer of Netflix’s climate-focused film “Don’t Look Up,” or as a heavy hitter for projects like “The Big Short,” “Anchorman,” “Step Brothers,” and “Succession.”
Using his entertainment savvy to fight back against climate disinformation and inaction, McKay created Yellow Dot to make memorable and entertaining videos about climate change — that are all scientifically accurate.
“By shining a light on the urgency, responsible parties, and scientifically proven solutions, we aim to empower more people to be part of the conversation about what we’re facing and what we can do about it,” the Yellow Dot website explains.
“We aim to support the creatives, organizations, scientists, and individuals who are similarly allied with the cause of continued human existence on Earth,” Yellow Dot’s website continues.
Viewers of Robinson’s video are directed to a hashtag and accompanying webpage: #ImWithScience. This includes resources where people can find climate news, contact their representatives, or join an advocacy group in their communities.
And it already appears to be resonating.
“As much as I am horrified at the prospect of a 1.5 degree increase in global temperatures, this is a remarkably funny Tim Robinson sketch,” one user commented on YouTube.
“This was such a great way to help spread the message,” another chimed in. “Thanks for the creativity!”
“People need to take climate change more seriously, but the messaging we’re getting about it is complicated, confusing, and scary,” another commenter summed up. “Tim’s ability to demonstrate empathy for so many audiences is amazing.”
Header images courtesy of Yellow Dot Studios