No matter how bad life may seem, you can always find some good news to smile about.
John Krasinski reminded us all of that easily forgotten fact when he spearheaded an online positivity movement during one of the country’s darkest times.
On March 25, near the end of an especially heartbreaking and worrisome month, Krasinski tweeted a simple request to his 2.6 million Twitter followers. Using the hashtag #SomeGoodNews, he asked his fans to share feel-good stories that had recently made them smile, and he received thousands of responses.
People answered Krasinski’s call for joy with heartwarming videos of socially distanced welcome home parades, photos of masks they had made for healthcare workers, stories of new homes, family members on the way, and more. He received so many uplifting replies that he created a makeshift studio in his home and produced Some Good News (SGN,) a weekly YouTube show dedicated to sharing stories of coronavirus creativity, compassion, and coming together.
After eight episodes, more than two and a half million subscribers, and over 60 million views later, Krasinski announced he was taking a break from the show. On Thursday, news broke that the series sold to ViacomCBS, and while Krasinski will continue to be involved and serve as the show’s executive producer, he will sadly no longer be hosting.
While Krasinski’s decision to abandon his role as our sole Some Good News newscaster is a giant letdown, we’ll be forever grateful for his efforts to bring people together in a time of isolation.
Krasinski gave it his all
For those who have yet to experience the joy of Some Good News, we can assure you that it was no half-assed effort. Sure, Krasinski only wore the top half of his suit when he recorded the first seven episodes, but that was for comedic effect — he gave the show his all in every way.
During the eight-episode run, Krasinski didn’t solely highlight other people’s good deeds, he performed his own as well. He video chatted with fans directly, hosted a virtual prom, organized a series of commencement speakers for a virtual graduation ceremony, and even got ordained as a minister to marry two people whose recreation of Jim and Pam’s gas station engagement on ‘The Office’ went viral.
He called on NASA astronauts and celebrity friends including Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzai, Steven Spielberg, Chance the Rapper, Billie Eilish, the Jonas Brothers, and more to help brighten our days. The show’s comically succinct weather reports featured stars like Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone. Not to mention that Krasinski gave fans of The Office the reunion we’ve desperately wanted for the last seven years.
Some Good News wasn’t all about star power, though. Krasinski also used the show to do some real good in the world.
In Episode 3, he focused on helping healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. In Episode 5, Krasinski told his guest Guy Fieri that PepsiCo would be donating $3 million to his Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus. And he even partnered with PepsiCo, Sevenly, and fans who created Some Good News art to release special lines of SGN merchandise for a good cause.
Krasinski also announced that all merch proceeds will go to charities like the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, World Central Kitchen, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Direct Relief. The Starbucks Foundation, additionally, recently announced that it will be matching SGN merch-related donations up to $1 million.
The gift of happy tears in times of grief
While Krasinski isn’t the only celebrity who’s taken positive action during the pandemic, what makes his effort so special is its focus on improving mental and emotional health.
It’s always helpful when celebrities donate money to organizations, but it’s also pretty easy for people who have a ton of disposable cash to give some away. Seeing a celebrity raise funds while also investing his time, energy, and resources into boosting our moods, as Krasinski did, is a lot more rare.
For adults, Some Good News acted as a delightful distraction from the soul-crushing negativity in the world. For kids, teens, and college students who are missing out on their proms and graduations, watching Krasinski’s efforts meant even more. The show also let us have a nice, long, cathartic, happy cry every week.
Scrolling through the Twitter replies to Krasinski’s initial request for good news, I bawled. At first I thought I was crying over the state of the world, and I sort of was, but I was also releasing tears of joy and relief. In March it felt like we as a society were doomed, but that first thread of good news — and every episode that followed — filled me with hope.
An unexpected hero
Krasinski’s emergence as a quarantine hero was particularly surprising — he’s never really had much of an online presence.
Compared to the average social media user (or most celebrities on Twitter and Instagram) Krasinski rarely posts. He only Instagrammed 18 times in the entirety of 2018, and 21 times in 2019. But he’s posted 25 SGN-related Instagrams in the past seven weeks alone. (He also has social accounts for Some Good News, which post multiple times a day.)
The actor was so offline before the pandemic that until recently his Twitter bio read, “Just learned how to change my bio.” Krasinski kicked off the first episode of SGN by announcing “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” And in the prom episode, which took some extra high tech maneuvering to pull off, he said, “This was the absolute scariest thing I’ve ever done in my career.” But, hey, now he has a Webby Award. (In addition to all the warm feelings he probably gets when reflecting on how much joy he helped disseminate.)
While Krasinski may have gotten better at navigating the internet, he still wasn’t one to shine the spotlight on himself. In each episode, especially the final one, which was dedicated to the SGN community, he made it his mission to celebrate his audience. He credited artists who tweeted at him, kids who hosted their own SGN shows, and directly interacted with more fans than any celebrity I’ve ever seen. Ultimately, Krasinski set out to show us all that we are the real heroes — the ones responsible for creating the good news.
By the end of the eighth episode it was clear that he had achieved that goal. Krasinski ended Episode 8 by switching up his usual sign-off message, reminding viewers to look for the good in this dark time. “For this episode of SGN,” he said instead, “I’m John Krasinski, no longer needing to remind you that no matter how hard things get, there is always good in the world.”
In his 2019 commencement speech at Brown University, Krasinski gave the graduating class a piece of advice. He said, “Before you do something special, just do something.” That’s exactly how we got Some Good News.
Though it’s unclear why Krasinski won’t be hosting future SGN episodes and a new host has yet to be revealed, Krasinski encouraged fans to keep submitting positive videos, photos, life updates, and pieces of good news on social media. If — and when — you’re in need of a reminder, the SGN Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts will still be there for you.
Krasinski could have easily sat back and stayed silent in quarantine. He could have let his lack of social media and tech experience stop him from trying, but instead, he stepped the hell up and did something. And that something turned into something special for which so many of us are truly grateful as we continue to weather this storm together.