by Alan Yudman
We are all looking for comfort watches during these weird times. Something to soothe our soul or psyche. It’s not a revelation that millions of people have discovered SOME GOOD NEWS (SGN) on YouTube. John Krazinski’s weekly show that reminds us there is good in the world. Don’t watch it without tissues at the ready… I get choked up several times during each episode. But I also laugh and smile.
This week Krazinski announced SGN was going on hiatus (no word on when it might return). That announcement coincided with one of my go to podcasts, SLATE’S CULTURE GABFEST, chosing SGN as one of their topics. I was a little surprised by the reactions of Dana Stevens, Julia Turner and Stephen Metcalf. They like it but had plenty of criticisms. Their main takeaway was the it lacked bite. SGN was too much good without commenting on all the bad. One panelist asked why we weren’t just watching him bake bread instead of doing this. That was a head-scratching take.
I understand their criticism, but I think they are very wrong. Another panelist cited Jon Stewart’s DAILY SHOW as a comparison. The argument was Stewart offered comfort food in the form of comedy but didn’t shy away from tackling tough issues with the appropriate amount of wit. Sometimes there was no wit at all. In the wake of 9/11 and the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. Stewart may not have been the only one, but his was the most powerful voice reminding us what America really should be.
In 2020 we have plenty of people filling Stewart’s shoes. Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and John Oliver all try to explain these strange times with a combination of humor, insight and facts. When we are bombarded every day with death, sickness, isolation and any a multitude of horrible things coming from The White House, some of us need a break. Not more insight into the situation but a reminder that there is good in the world. That the majority want to do good and be good. That is what Krazinski and SGN did every week. He is not a satirist or a comedian. He’s an actor, a filmmaker and a dad who figured while he was stuck at home, he’d use his storytelling skills to bring some light to our dark times. I don’t think I want “Jim” from THE OFFICE or “Jack Ryan” to be Jon Stewart. I want Krazinski to do exactly what he’s been doing. Make us laugh, remind us the human heart has the greatest capacity to love and occasionally make us cry happy tears. When Krazinski decides to do more episodes, I will keep watching because every week I need SOME GOOD NEWS.