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TikTok Is Providing Unexpected Comic Relief During Australia’s Bushfires

Through viral dance videos and snarky satire, TikTok offers a flicker of light in the gloom and doom brought by the fires.
(L) A firefighter playing jump rope. Screenshot from TikTok user @lansdownerfs. (R) A woman dancing amid dark skies. Screenshot from TikTok user @_stephclifford. 

It’s been a pretty grim start to 2020. Tensions rose between the United States and Iran and Indonesia’s capital Jakarta experienced massive flooding. Then, there are Australia's bushfires that continue to wreak havoc in the country, decimating wildlife and destroying livelihood. In the wake of all this destruction, damage, and volatility, it’s easy to lose hope.

Enter TikTok, the unlikeliest of heroes, bringing people together over a shared love for viral dances, trashy pop music, and taking the piss out of a bad situation. In the face of a climate disaster and divisive politics, Australians — including some very game firefighters — turn to silly videos for a few seconds of respite.


We’ve scoured TikTok and now bring you the kind of quality content we all need to tide us through the tough times.

In this, TikTok user Chris Rumpf, decked in an all yellow fire-fighting suit, is flanked by two backup dancers as they go to town with their moves.

TikTok user Steph Clifford, meanwhile, found light in the darkened ashy landscape by strutting to the beat of Doja Cat’s “Say So.”

Goofing around is indeed more fun with company. This clip shows firefighters playing jump rope using a truck’s hose, giggling like kids throughout.

In this one, firefighters have a bit of fun by spraying down a fire truck that gets a little too close.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for fumbling his attempts at handling the crisis. From going to Hawaii for a holiday as the fires continue, to frustrated citizens ignoring his handshakes. Critics have been vocal and the youngins of TikTok spared no creativity in calling #ScoMo out.

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