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Dead (Trolls) in the water

Greg Malone, Ben Sures, Dead Trolls create a night of environmental humour

In the third-season Futurama episode “Birdbot of Ice-Catraz,” a
group of environmentalists who run a penguin reserve on Pluto face a hard
decision when an environmental disaster causes the penguins to breed out of
control: let the penguins overpopulate their ecosystem and starve to death,
or get some rifles and start thinning out the flock. Having grudgingly chosen
the second option, one of the show’s main characters notices that the
conservationists are particularly enjoying the prospect of the hunt, causing
her to exclaim, “Hey, if it’s any fun at all, it’s not
environmentalism.” Dork-status-betraying animated show references
aside, suffice it to say that there indeed exists a belief in our society
that one cannot simultaneously be an environmentalist and have a sense of
humour. But it’s exactly this stigma that the Parkland Institute hopes
to dispel tonight (Thursday) as it presents an evening of comedy with
Codco’s Greg Malone and Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. According to
Parkland program co-ordinator Jane Wiley, the idea for the event came to her
after seeing the acclaimed documentary The Corporation. “I was watching
[the film],” she explains, “and in the middle of it… I found
myself thinking, ‘I’m going to walk out of here paralyzed;
I’m going to walk out of here so bummed,’ and I didn’t. I
think that’s the brilliance of that movie. I walked out of it with a
smile on my face, and I was motivated for action. And that’s exactly
what we want people to be left with. We want people to leave the room
laughing and motivated to work on these issues and continue discussing these
issues. There’s nothing like a good belly laugh to give you the energy
to carry on. It’s like a shot in the arm; it’s way better than a
double cappuccino.” Hosted by Malone, the evening will also feature
songs by Edmonton singer/songwriter Ben Sures and a performance by the Dead
Trolls entitled Damned, Drained and Hosed: A Comic Look at the Politics of
Water. Aside from providing a few guffaws, Wiley feels that the comedic
approach will also prove effective in getting people to consider
environmental issues that would otherwise fly under the public radar.
“I think that when you’re trying to promote discussion on hard
issues, if you can get people laughing first, you’re more likely to
bring about real dialogue and real discussion,” she says.
“It’s a way of opening people up and it’s a way of allowing
people to deal with some hard issues around water and environmental issues,
because it’s easy to just want to stick your head in the sand and
it’s hard to do that when you’re laughing. It breaks through
denial, through fear.” Breaking through that denial is of the utmost
importance, says Wiley, especially when it comes to the subject of water.
“Water is the big issue of the future,” she says. “Everyone
is starting to deal with this fact nationally and internationally. [The
Trolls] will be covering a whole spectrum of issues from freshwater sources,
global water issues, global warming, water treatment, water use, industrial
and local, factory farms. It’s a very complex sort of issue and
that’s the other reason comedy is a good way to look at water issues;
there are so many aspects to the issue of water that it’s easy for
people to become overwhelmed facing them.” The issue of water is an
important one to Greg Malone, who, aside from his years as a star of the CBC
comedy show Codco, is also known for his environmental work in his home
province of Newfoundland and as a member of the Sierra Club. According to
Malone, the control of freshwater resources is something all people should be
deeply concerned about. “This whole big push to privatize water
globally is just madness, you know?” he says. “The CEO of Azurix,
Enron’s subsidiary for water in Europe, recently said that she
wouldn’t rest until all the world’s water was privatized. And
right now there are a bunch of lawsuits going on where people are being
prevented from drawing water on their land because it’s part of a water
basin that’s owned by a company, so they’re not allowed to build
a well on their own land. Stuff like that’s going on, and it’s
madness when you consider that everyone in the world needs water to drink,
and the agenda is to own it and profit by it. “Capitalism is destroying
the environment that it feeds on, and it needs human intervention,” he
continues. “The cause of almost all of the world’s problems today
can be boiled to just greed gone wild. It’s quite a state. But
I’ve taken all this and managed to get it down to about a half-hour of
laughs, if you can believe that. It’ll be an interesting evening with a
few laughs. The Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie—I’ve worked with
them before and they’re quite funny, and it’ll be great to get
back out to Edmonton for this.” According to Dead Troll Wes Borg, the
troupe jumped at the challenge of bringing this heavy issue to the forefront
while still managing to be funny. “The Parkland Institute called us up
and asked if we would write some comedy about the fact that Alberta’s
freshwater is in danger of evaporating into the control of some pretty nasty
corporations, and we said, ‘Huh?’ Then they said they’d pay
us to do it and we said, ‘Damn the privatization of freshwater!
Let’s kick The Man right in the ass!,’” says Borg, adding
that nothing gives him more pleasure in life than being the bearer of bad
news. “I always personally feel so very richly rewarded when I see
someone realize just how fucked up things are, how much corporate cock is
regularly violating their personal freedoms, and how little power they have
to do anything about it. “That’s really special,” he
concludes. “It’s like watching the face of a child who has just
stumbled upon the roadkilled carcass of the Easter Bunny. Just
priceless.” V An Evening of Comedy With Greg Malone, Ben Sures and
Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie • Arts Barns • Thu, Apr 22

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