The Finger Awards: 15 Cases Where Comedy Generated Social Change in 2020

Omri Marcus
5 min readDec 10, 2020


There is no way to survive 2020 without some humor. It can help explain complicated issues, encourage safe behavior, and ease the tough days. Comedy has never been more critical than in 2020. It’s a creative tool to push institutions, politicians, and nations to re-think topics and make urgently needed changes. The Finger Awards honor those who have mastered that craft and share their achievements — no matter where on the globe they are. From race, gender, environmental issues, and more, if they use comedy to make it better, we want to finger them.

Over 100 nominees from more than 30 countries were considered for the Award. The finalists and winners were picked by over 50 comedy professionals worldwide, members of the Comedy for Change community.

The following are the community picks — three winners and the12 finalists, let’s hope that next year the joke won’t be at our expense. You can watch the entire ceremony here:

First of all, the winners:

The Finger Award for Most Creative Comedy went to the Dick Pics Museum in Germany, where award-winning German TV show Joko & Klaas Gegen Prosieben ran a campaign against sexual harassment. In a museum space, the creators opened an exhibition of ‘Dick Pics’ that a famous actress had received. The exhibition featured in a 15-minute special segment about gender relations that also included female celebrities sharing sexist comments made after they appeared on social media. (link)

The Finger Award for Most Effective Comedy was won by Star Trek actor and social media sensation George Takei for reclaiming the term ‘Proud Boys’ from the far-right, neo-fascist and male-only political organization of that name that promotes and engages in political violence. Takei encouraged Twitter users to flood the platform with images of LGBTQi pride using the #proudboys hashtag.

2020’s Special COVID-19 category went to The Corona Song from Vietnam. The Vietnam Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health set the #GhenCoVyChallenge, which turned into a mass dance craze that encouraged people to wash their hands properly and stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of funny variations for it were created on TikTok. (link)

The Finalists were:

  • Medical Bill Art by MSCHF

An art collective’s novel way of paying off three people’s medical debt by turning their hospital bills into huge paintings and selling them as art. The paintings were bought in the amount of 73,000$ and erased the medical debt. (link)

  • Make Belgium Great Again by VTM

An original Belgian format where a team of TV makers tries to make their country a better place with big or small acts. Each episode has a personal mission, a social mission, and a community mission to tackle problems like organ donor registration, environmental issues, and food waste by pranking viewers into taking action.

For example, The show made a luxury chef dinner for a group of unsuspecting people, and at the end of the dinner revealed that all the ingredients came from their own garbage.

  • Love Conquers All (Finland) by Burger King

In support of Pride Week Burger-King Finland’s campaign “Love conquers all” show the Burger-King kissing Ronald Mcdonald.

  • I Flew Katie Hopkins to Prague to Win a Fake Award (UK) by Josh Pieters & Archie Manners.

Comedian Josh Pieters tricks far-right journalist Katie Hopkins with a non-existent award where she delivered a plethora of hate speech about minority groups.

  • Naked Ballots (USA) by RepresentUs

US celebrities stripping off as part of a campaign to urge people to vote.

  • Honest Government Ad (Australia) by The Juice Media

A satirical take on Government advertising. Each video targets a current social or political issue and highlights the potential consequences of the Government’s position and policy on that issue.

  • Stop Dowrymongerying (Pakistan) by UN Women

In the Indian subcontinent, forced Dowry is a practice in which the groom’s family coerces the bride’s family to pay the groom in material goods. Failure to match this expectation frequently results in thousands of domestic violence cases against brides. The campaign, organized by the UN Women, was a prank played by a famous Pakistani star to stop forced dowry.

  • Refresher Course (Japan) by SC Johnson

A gender equality campaign designed to remind parents that as kids they shared cleaning chores, and they should keep sharing the cleaning chores as grownups.

  • Gone2Shit Toilet Paper (USA) by MullenLowe

A campaign against ballot rejection pretending to turn them into toilet paper.

  • Stay at Home (Bahrain) by ‿ and us

To encourage Bahrain’s to stay home Batelco released a commemorative Snapchat filter — at-home heroes of COVID-19. The campaign kicked off on Instagram with images of heroic women and men proudly posing at home in their pajamas with their own set of medals, each one custom-designed in 3D to reflect their accomplishments — ranging from men learning to cook to parents dealing with the realities of homeschooling their children.

  • The Big Night In (UK) by BBC Studios

BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief live Covid-19 fundraiser. A section of the show was dedicated to a compilation of comedians delivering their best lockdown jokes.

  • How not to touch your face (USA) by Josh Cohen

A sketch by Josh Cohen on ‘How not to touch your face in contagious times’. from donning a suit of armor to wrapping himself in a plastic bubble.



Omri Marcus

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