Climate change is indeed a real—and of course very bleak—issue facing the world today. Thankfully, there is a unique comedy show in Philadelphia that not only confronts the issue head-on, but also helps its audiences laugh at a time when it is needed most.
“Good Morning, New Miami” is a sketch comedy show held regularly at Good Good Comedy Theater in Chinatown. The show, which has its Christmas performance on Sunday, December 17, is a smart comedy that satirizes not only the climate change issue (and society’s somewhat widespread ignorance of it), but also the perky nature of modern morning talk shows. It is set in the year 2050 when oceans have claimed the eastern seaboard of the United States, resulting in the state of West Virginia suddenly becoming a coastal area. Situated on the ocean is “New Miami,” where the morning news show “Good Morning New Miami!” is broadcast.
The show is the brainchild of local Philadelphia comedian Reem Seliem. A graduate student in Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Seliem knows all too well about the effects of climate change.
“Climate change models are predicting apocalyptic events – meanwhile, science itself is being questioned, the EPA has been gutted, and natural disasters are already destroying entire nations,” Seliem said. “It’s not great. But everybody knows that tragedy + time = comedy.”
Seliem took advantage of the “How to Produce Your Own Comedy Show” class offered at Good Good Comedy Theater by comedian and theater co-founder Aaron Nevins. “I finally found a way to show people what kind of future could be in store for us while also capturing the absurdity and ignorance that dominates news and talk show cycles,” Seliem explained. “Now it’s one of the only things that give me comfort. Dark comedy is magical in that way.”
“Good Morning, New Miami” premiered in June 2016 and was an instant hit with audiences. Good Good Comedy soon commissioned it for a monthly run and it is currently one of their most popular shows. Seliem and fellow comedian Peter Brown co-host the show, playing overly perky morning TV personalities, complete with “highlighter color” outfits and tropical shirts, who welcome on a rotating cast of absurdly hilarious guests. Comedians Andrew Shearer and Chris McGrail also appear frequently on the show as different, colorful post-apocalyptic characters, contributing their own writing and production skills to the show.
Despite its dystopian setting, the show has nevertheless bore witness to numerous example of hilarity from the minds of comedians and other guests who immediately understood the nature of “Good Morning, New Miami.” “Ari Fishbein was a weatherman that predicted firestorms and literally no tomorrow,” Seliem recalled. “Andrew Shearer was West Virginia’s last coal miner, who was very valuable and all of his demands were catered to. He even had a show on TLC called ‘Oops, I’m Dating a Miner.’ People were roaring with laughter at that line.”
The “Good Morning, New Miami” Christmas show, which sold out at the end of 2016, will be followed by a brief hiatus of a few months. Thus, this is the area’s last chance to check out this sharp satire before winter truly sets in. Fortunately, audiences do not have to travel to the theater by boat. Yet.
If you go:
“Good Morning, New Miami”
Sunday, Dec. 17
7:00 p.m., $5
Good Good Comedy Theater
215 N. 11th St., Philadelphia