January 30, 2014–A decade ago, “Saturday Night Live” began running a series of skits featuring “Debbie Downer,” a character who could single-handedly destroy fun of any kind with the world’s most depressing remarks. In her inaugural appearance on the show, Debbie, played by the amazing Rachel Dratch, manages to annihilate the good moods of her entire family while dining at Mickey’s Breakfast Jamboree in Disney World.
“Oh, hey Pluto, hi,” Debbie croaks in monotone, standing ram-rod straight while the famous Disney dog fruitlessly attempts to hug her.
“With that costume on,” Debbie adds, staring blankly at the back of the fleeing cartoon character, “he’s probably in the early stages of heat stroke.” Pause. “Speaking of heat, if this greenhouse effect keeps up, we’ll all be living underwater.” Pause. “By the way, it’s official: I can’t have children.”
The world got a taste of a real-world Debbie Downer last week, courtesy of earnest one-named MSNBC host Touré. After his television roundtable colleagues spent a few too many minutes of their East Coast blizzard coverage happily reminiscing about childhood and the pure joy of playing in the snow, Touré broke in. “I’m sorry,” he huffed. “I can only do so many fun, awe-struck stories about the weather and the extraordinary weather events without saying this is because of climate change. … When we act like all this is fun, you know what we are doing? We’re dancing on the deck of the Titanic.”
“I can only,” he added in dramatic conclusion, “do this fun so many times.” Unfortunately for us all, a depressing-yet-comic horn did not sound at this particular point in time.