Brow Beat

This Halloween, Samantha Bee Wants to Scare the Disbelieving Pants Off of Climate Change Deniers

Halloween is just days away, and studies show that Americans are more afraid of clowns than climate change. Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee is on a mission to change that by taking the concept of Hell Houses—essentially haunted houses created by religious organizations to scare people out of being gay or getting abortions—and using it for her own means. Bee partnered with the people behind Terror Behind the Walls, a haunted house at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, and set up a climate change–themed Hell House that imagines a future in which the Earth is ruined beyond repair.

Of course, to gauge its effectiveness, she also needed some climate change deniers to test it out. The crew she assembled is made up of people with a variety of opinions on the planet’s ecosystem, including one guy who’s worked up about how cows and their “anal gas” can’t possibly destroy the Earth. Bee took them on a journey 50 years from today, to a version of the planet in which cockroaches are the only source of food, melting arctic ice has released plagues of old, and Al Gore TED Talks are inescapable. (They are delivered, in this case, by a very creepy John Hodgman.)

At the end, Bee found that the experience had changed at least one climate change denier’s mind—but it wasn’t the cockroaches that did it. As for the others in her focus group, maybe Ingrid Michaelson can sing some sense into them: Michaelson showed up to sing a parody of her song “Be OK” called “(Earth Is) Not OK.” The special effects really are something.