What are your top 3 stand-up specials to watch while we are at home?
My favorite comedy special has to be Julio Torres’
My Favorite Shapes
in which he uses a conveyor belt to bring out various objects he finds fascinating and it is both bizarre and brilliant. It shows us that there are always new ways to tell jokes, which is something that is very relevant today as we all have had to find new ways to tell them in these unprecedented times.
Because comedians have been forced to find stages that don’t exist in the outside world in order to continue to perform, we have a lot of options as far as being an audience goes. There are shows happening on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitch and other platforms in ways that haven’t happened before as people learn new skill sets.
is making daily realtime animations. Comedy shows across the country are finding new ways to continue and now that geography is broken and everyone is telling jokes from their living rooms, I'm seeing lineups that would be impossible to have in physical space. An example of this is the
out of Fort Collins, a weekly stand-up showcase that is using Twitch to still maintain the audience/performer relationship.
How about comedies that are family friendly?
Laughter is a fear response and comedy is a way to filter the chaos of the world into something both understandable and surprising. I think there is a lot of great comedy to consume with your kids as long as you don’t mind having honest and awkward conversations with them afterwards. But as someone whose only child is an elderly chihuahua who I let watch whatever she wants, I can’t make that decision for other people.
Why was it important for you to keep the comedy community together and engaged during the stay at home order?
Part of the magic of live performance is not just the connection to the folks in the audience, but their connection to each other, and the venue providing the space for the jokes to happen. We need these relationships to continue, not just by supporting performers and finding ways to gather together virtually, but advocating for the businesses and theaters that we need to stick around until we can meet in the real world again.
With Joketellers Union we're using part of the donations we get to pay out the door people and bar staff from the Clock-Out Lounge because we have a responsibility to the creative ecosystem that we benefit from being part of.
Currently I am seeing people give what they can, even if it is just time and attention and spreading the word, and it gives me hope that we can make it through this. But going from being able to rely on ticket sales to depending on tips and donations brings a lot of uncertainty. I have long believed that being an audience is activism in itself and that is truer now more than ever.
Has the pandemic changed how you find and develop your material? If so, can you speak to these shifts?
Absolutely. Stand-up is a dialogue—one person tells jokes and the other answers with an emotional response. The struggle has been ways to keep that dynamic going. I have been fortunate enough to be able to bring all three of my shows to the Internet using different types of technology and formats for each one, and also have had to learn new skills and seek out new resources.
There is also the challenge of finding things to laugh at in this time of terrifying change and tragic loss. We are all sharing a global experience right now in very personal ways and sharing that is extremely important right now.
What are you most looking forward to doing on the other side of this?
Being in the same room with other people’s laughter.