Comedy During Covid

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Many have been searching desperately for entertainment during the pandemic. Since bars, restaurants and other venues closed, it left many looking for plans on a Friday night, this time from home.

A favorite thing to do before the pandemic was going to comedy shows with friends. It was always a good option for a night out and a great time. With temporary closures of comedy clubs, both local and nationwide, many favorite comedians were forced to reach out online to their fans, expressing their trouble with continuing their job during Covid. After a few months, a trend started to pop up, many of them started doing shows via Zoom.

Dwight Simmons, a local Indianapolis comedian and writer for the Bob and Tom show, told of his experience doing shows over Zoom. 

“Some comics hate on Zoom shows or doing stuff online, but I feel that they've helped keep me sharp. It's obviously not the same experience of performing live. Laughter can be delayed, your timing can be off...it feels weird,” Simmons said.

Simmons said that, while it’s been difficult having to adjust, he found that the audience generally appreciated his effort, and it helped him practice jokes and stay sane. 

Ed Trout, owner of CSz Comedy Sportz, a venue in downtown Indy, had a different experience. Trout, who managed shows and performed himself as well, had to surrender the theater space. “In the last couple of months, because of performer and audience burn-out with live virtual shows, we have also reduced the number of performances down to just a handful a month.” 

CSz, who used to have five shows a week, saw a downturn in audience interaction. It became harder to gauge whether or not the viewers were enjoying themselves! 

Simmons agrees that audience reaction is much harder to get during virtual shows. Before the pandemic, he could practice his jokes night after night, getting down a solid rhythm. With only one or two shows a month, though, it’s difficult to get feedback. 

Although both comedians and business owners have been struggling, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Audiences tend to interact more over the Zoom chat function, said Trout, and he tends to see more varied and interesting feedback. With more venues opening up, both Trout and Simmons hope to see an upswing in shows, and get back to normal.

For more information on comedy shows, or when comedy venues will be opening up, follow your favorite comedians on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook-that’s where most of them tend to advertise their shows. There’s also a weekly show hosted by comedians Natasha Collier and Max Eddy via Zoom, where they invite new performers to show what they’ve got. Check out the link if you’re interested.

 


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