In a new series of short videos, Minnesota Senator Al Franken and noted beard-grower David Letterman attempt to raise awareness of global warming. No matter what side of that issue you’re on, chances are you find this topic obvious, frustrating, and, let’s be honest, a bit dull. Partnering with the Funny or Die website and the TV series Years of Living Dangerously, Franken and Letterman have taped a series of six brief videos in which they discuss climate-change dangers with a heavy coating of humor. Titled Boiling the Frog With Senator Al Franken, the videos premiere Monday on Funny or Die.
In each roughly five-minute video, Letterman — dressed in what looks like his long underwear — sits in Franken’s congressional office. The two of them shoot the wind-powered breeze about climate change, the politics of policy reform, and various bits of small talk. Turns out Letterman drives an electric car. (At least, I think he does: His retirement dial is set to Permanent Bemusement these days.) Franken shows off pictures on his office wall, of himself performing for the troops overseas. Franken tells Letterman — and by extension, us — that calling your congressperson is important and that “phone calls are taken seriously” by elected officials. Dave tells Al, “I love you.” Al tells Dave, “America misses you.” I am not making this up.
The humor here is low-key to the point of minimal. (The videos could have been posted on an alternate channel: Funny or Chuckle Mildly.) There’s a strained moment when someone appears to take a quick, tiny snip from Letterman’s beard for some sort of scientific experiment that’s only vaguely defined. Some viewers will be enlightened about the political influence of the energy-company titans the Koch brothers. Franken and Letterman are sincere beneath their jokiness, but they’re also preaching to a choir that already believes there is indeed such a thing as global warming.
Boiling The Frog with Senator Al Franken is streaming now on Funny Or Die.