Call for Comments: Stand Up, Sitting Down

From Katya: We’ve talked at length about the ways that the current global pan pizza has changed the form, content, and consumption patterns of a lot of media. One we haven’t hit on, yet, is folks that perform live; what do you do when your career/hobby/calling in life is disrupted by the inability of folks to congregate safely in numbers (looking at all you, people who gathered against medical advise and caused outbreaks!)?

Some, like opera singer and comic Chelsea Hart, have poured energy into TikTok. Others created YouTube channels (which seems to have been very good for the extended Drag Race Universe and the use of Easy Bake Ovens for our entertainment.) And the growth of VR stages for all kinds of genres probably won’t be leaving us anytime soon. But like the Zoom happy hour, these things aren’t exactly the same as their IRL, meatspace counterparts. What’s lost when you move performance online? And what’s gained?

I recently met a stand-up comic, Jennifer Mason, in the most pandemic appropriate way possible: random matching on a remote networking site. And lo, the world of how-to-be-funny-at-a-distance was revealed: workshops, zoom shows, chat groups, and more. Also, that clowning classes are only for the hardcore. Jennifer’s joining us with some of her colleagues to talk about the world and culture of virtual comedy.

So what are your questions, dear listeners? Have you been to any virtual shows? Maybe hosted or participated in one? Are you ready to begin your journey to clowning? Have you heard of any other unique ways stand-up comics are dealing with our new world? Let us know in the comments.

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