Laugh Tracks: “Is Putin afraid of humor? ‘Very much so,’ Zelensky said. Humor, he explained, reveals deeper truths. The famous television series in which Zelensky starred, Servant of the People, mocked the pomposity of Ukrainian politicians, attacked corruption, and presented the little guy as a hero; many of his sketches were clever satires of political leaders and their attitudes. ‘Jesters were allowed to tell the truth in ancient kingdoms,’ he said, but Russia ‘fears the truth.’ Comedy remains ‘a powerful weapon’ because it is accessible. ‘Complex mechanisms and political formulations are difficult for humans to grasp. But through humor, it’s easy; it’s a shortcut.'” (Let’s hope Ukraine has the last laugh.) The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum and Jeffrey Goldberg talk to Volodymyr Zelensky who explains why the best case scenario is Liberation Without Victory. “He is a kind of anti-Putin: Rather than telegraphing a cold-eyed, murderous superiority, he wants people to understand him as an Everyman, a middle-aged dad with a bad back.” (My life goal is to hug Zelensky.) Meanwhile, on the less human side of the spectrum, Russia held a ceremony to mourn the loss of its Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva. And the refugee number crossed 5 million. Here’s the latest from BBC.

+ Climate’s Front Lines: “Below average rainfall for 2022 is likely to prolong the already extremely dry conditions which have not been experienced to this degree since 1981. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains — are already in the midst of a dire famine.” East and Horn of Africa prep for worst drought in decades.

+ When I Say Jump… Covid cases are on the rise. You probably know that from hearing about friends and others who are getting it. The only question about the post Spring Break, Easter, Passover period is how high it will go. And the signs aren’t all bad. It’s not over: COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in US.

+ OMG: “The campaign is on the brink of success in the courts because proponents of school prayer have perfected a tactic that reverses the victim and offender.” Slate: How the Right Is Bringing Christian Prayer Back Into Public Schools.

+ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: “McIndoe made a placard, and went out to join the march. “It’s not like I sat down and thought I’m going to make a satire. I just thought: ‘I should write a sign that has nothing to do with what is going on.’ An absurdist statement to bring to the equation.’ That statement was ‘birds aren’t real.'” And the story just kept getting weirder. ‘The lunacy is getting more intense’: how Birds Aren’t Real took on the conspiracy theorists.

+ Look What You Made Me Dough “So far, Nesmith has received messages from six fans asking if he was selling his commencement tickets. Most told him to name his price; one fan offered $500 for a ticket.” It’s weird when people are willing to pay top dollar for a graduation ticket. That changes when one of the speakers is Taylor Swift.