On Sunday night, I watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and there was a story at the end of his show that I think everyone can agree might be the palate-cleanser we all need with all of the grim and bleak news that has been going on in the last few months.
So in the Bolivian city of La Paz, there has been an astounding amount of fatal car accidents over the last handful of years. So to try and combat this problem, Bolivia’s government came up with a solution that is incredible in every way: traffic zebras.
Yes. I’m serious. Men and women dress up in zebra costumes and dance around in the streets of La Paz in an attempt to encourage safety and it is just as magical as it sounds. Oliver explains in the piece that the program was based off something similar in Columbia where they tried out traffic mimes.
The program launched in 2001 with 24 traffic zebras but has since grown to 265 zebras dancing in the streets of La Paz. Not only has this program helped with traffic accidents, it has provided much needed jobs to the community. As it turns out, many of the people who are in those zebra costumes are recovering drug addicts who are trying to reshape their lives and transition back into society.
I have needed this kind of story in my life and apparently so has Oliver. So what his show did next might be my favorite part of all of this. Because the news has been so depressing lately, they added their own traffic zebra to video clips of recent events to try and make the news more watchable. He added a zebra to Trump’s inauguration, Rachel Maddow’s show where she took an eternity to release parts of Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns, and even to the super depressing film Manchester By the Sea.
But here’s the best part: we can all do it too! The show had a zebra in act out a wide variety of emotional responses in front of a green screen and is encouraging people to add zebras to videos of their own using the hashtag #JustAddZebras. The show uploaded a 23-minute clip of the zebra acting out the gestures that you can find below.
Post your zebra videos on social media using #JustAddZebras