THE SB/COMEDY CONNECTION
nearly two year history of work with
the world famous Groundlings
"Don't you find it all so depressing? "
This is what we've heard in this campaign from the very start.
Yes, we do find ocean conservation a little depressing at times,
but most of us find this stuff more angering than depressing.
Why must the oceans deteriorate?
We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it any more, but
we're also still human and kinda like to take a break from the
intensity periodically. This is what a little humor helps with.
PSA Demo - Groundlings Steve Little (top) and Jeremy
were bad dancers in the first draft of the
In the spring of 2002, as we were just beginning to formulate
our ideas for this project, we agreed that we felt the public
has limited ability to be hit over the head with bad news without
offering some sort of consolation.
The standard ballast offered up for bad news is good news. But
we are of the opinion that there is limited good news in the
ocean AND, more importantly, it's hard for the public to keep
good news and bad news in balance -- i.e. you can tell people
about a murder and a new tree planting and they can get the feeling
that they balance each other out, when they don't really.
COMEDY CONTEST - contestants from The Groundlings won 4 of the
The same is true for ocean conservation. You can tell people
the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is collapsing and that a
few square miles of the Florida Keys are now protected and they
can end up with the feeling that one balances out the other,
when in reality they don't.
PSA - Groundling alum Mindy Sterling gave Henry Winkler a
in our Ocean Symphony
So our solution is to be careful with the good news, and instead
offer up a little comic relief to ease the pain of the bad. But
this is a novel concept in environmentalism, a field generally
known for taking itself a little too seriously. So it has required
an element of exploration.
We began our exploration by establishing contact with the best
comedy the entertainment world has to offer -- the world famous
comedy group, The Groundlings .
THE ROTTEN JELLYFISH AWARDS - Groundlings alum Jennifer Coolidge
and current Groundling Daniele Gaither announced the awards to
an excited audience of four persons.
One of the veteran comic actors and instructors of the Groundlings,
Jeremy Rowley, took on the role of producer from the start and
began working with Randy Olson to produce the following four
1) PSA DEMO AND REAL THING - in the initial
video version of the PSA, Jeremy Rowley and Groundling Steve
Little were bad dancers (who proved to be too good to be usable
-- most people found their attempt at bad dancing to actually
be pretty good). A year later, when we filmed the real PSA ,
Groundlings alums Mindy Sterling (now a 3 time SB veteran) and
Mike Hitchcock did their best to play their worst.
CONTEST - to prove to ourselves
that lowered standards really is a common theme in stand-up comedy,
we brought in 42 amateur comic and let them present their best
2 minutes on lowered standards. Jeremy Rowley helped recruit
about a third of the contestants from The Groundlings Sunday
Company and upper division students, and they walked off with
4 of the 7 awards. We also recruited Groundling alum Mindy Sterling
to serve as one of the celebrity judges.
3) THE ROTTEN
JELLYFISH AWARDS - this was
not a particularly novel concept. Somebody used to give out their "Dirty
Dozen" award for the worst polluters. But they never had
Stifler's mother do the presenting. This project began with Groundling
alum Roy Jenkins helping to write the material. Then Groundlings
alum Jennifer Coolidge and current Groundling Daniele Gaither
managed to donate a few hours of time just before Christmas to
help bring to life the bad news in a darkly comic way.
4) THE GROUNDLINGS OCEAN FILMS - and now, for
the ultimate synthesis, four short films (2 minutes each) that
will premiere at Hollywood Ocean Night, March 22. The scripts
were written by Randy Olson, Jeremy Rowley, and Roy Jenkins.
The cast are all current Groundlings, along with our most favorite
Groundling alum, Mindy Sterling. After premiering at the event,
they will be posted here for downloading on March 23.