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Our 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 Rowley (bottom)
were bad dancers in the first draft of the PSA

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 7 awards.

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
headache 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 projects:

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.

2) COMEDY 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.