I miss live comedy. So fucking much. I miss the feeling of community- for that hour, you and the audience are an ensemble, working through the night together. Or, being with my ensemble, my improv troupe, onstage, doing what we do best FOR people.
I miss being backstage, talking to other comics. I miss watching everyone’s sets from the sidelines. I even miss trying to keep myself energized till midnight, when my show began, a time slot I used to dread but would now do anything for. Like, FUCK do I miss that. I miss the energy of it all- being unafraid of bombing, because it’s happened enough times that it doesn’t hurt as bad anymore. It’s encouragement, an education- that joke wasn’t funny. Thank you, next.
And, my god, do I miss the feeling of being on stage. In a club, or a theater, hearing each laugh, cackle and under-the-breath “ha.” The rush of performing is a drug I didn’t realize I was fully addicted to- a high that cannot be recreated and can only exist in that space, at that time. I miss it all. So, so much.
The COVID cases in the US going up makes things worse- even the outdoor shows aren’t an option now. We’re back to square 1 (zoom). And that? Kinda sucks! My therapist always says to let all emotions out, then reel the negativity back in. So, here is me reeling my emotional moment back in (and also I guess giving advice to…myself!):
Chris Gethard recently put out a notes-app style statement about how quarantine sucks, but there are some really interesting artistic ways to look at it. He said that right now, we have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. The open mic-ers who have been doing the same tight-5 for years can finally get new material. TikTokers can continue being themselves. Famous people make less money. In that way, the cup is half full.
But, beyond ourselves and individuals, we also have the chance to reinvent our community. Most of the theaters I performed at pre-COVID don’t even exist anymore. Not only is it a new decade, waiting to be defined, but we have the chance to build live comedy from the ground up again. An even better scene. We know it will be back. Of course it will. We will beg the trust-fund artist babies of NYC and LA, because we KNOW there are plenty to go around, to invest in us. Or, we will invest in ourselves. I’m already in debt, what’s a little more?
I love live comedy so much. There is nothing like it. And at the moment, we can’t have that. But what we can and will do decide what the humor of this generation looks like in action. And that, gives me hope.