Turns out stand-up comedy is a lot easier than home schooling
Monday’s “Freedom Day” was supposed to bring theaters back to full capacity, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
When the theaters closed 18 months ago I was halfway through and this tour was scheduled to resume next weekend with the first three of my dates rescheduled. Unfortunately, a lot of theaters couldn’t take the risk of “Freedom Day” going as planned and so these concerts were postponed – but I was able to do “warm-up” shows this week at a few arts centers.
On Saturday, the cultural center I was in had a capacity of 150 but with social distancing in effect, that was reduced to just 38. With comedy, if 51% of the audience is on your side, you’re in. . While well over 51% were barred from attending, the game presents obvious challenges – and it was somewhat surreal to be able to step out into a quarter-full auditorium and say, “Welcome to the sold-out show.”
When theaters closed last year, I still had 40 shows from the tour to complete. The tour was called “Healing The Nation” which won’t be one of my most successful tour titles. The ill-fated “Healing The Nation” tour has been rescheduled three times so far – first in fall 2020, then spring 2021, currently fall 2021 / spring 2022. The 40 unfinished tour gigs which were due to be completed by May 2020 will now only be completed in May 2022. What should have taken two months will now take two years – and there is no guarantee that it will be completed by then.
We’ll see what this winter brings, but with the expected resurgence of many other diseases as well as Covid-19, it looks certain that the nation’s recovery is going to take many years and quite possibly the tour of this name even longer.
If you are self-employed and earned more than £ 50,000 in the 2018/19 tax year, or even £ 50,000.01, there has been no government financial support. The only outlet for the gig stand-up was Zoom’s bizarre gig – a particularly difficult homework scenario when you factor in the language, volume, and sleeping kids.
Part of the joy of stand-up is getting dressed in your performance kit, going to wonderful places, and taking the stage to the roar of a crowd. That joy is somewhat diminished when you get dressed in your bedroom, go next to your storage room, and click a button that reveals 50 tiny thumbnails on a screen of people lounging on their own sofas eating crisps.
At a comedy concert, there is nowhere a member of the audience can hide and no devices are allowed – whereas at a Zoom concert, the audience is often on multiple devices, have the luxury of ‘a mute button and can heckle in multiple formats when chat is on.
British theaters certainly seem to have been at the end of the regulations. In some countries, borders have been closed and theaters allowed to remain open to the national public. In the UK, borders have remained open but cinemas have been closed. The Delta variant is rampant in the country because of the non-closing of the borders, not because of the touring production of Hackney Empire across the country. Jacques and the beanstalk.
Comedy is also uniquely affected by masks in that it completely stifles the laughs and it’s very difficult to determine who is heckling just by looking in people’s eyes. However, this is made easier because it seems that the population who likes to heckle the most tend to be the people who have their masks hanging from one ear or under the chin, or who have been told they don’t. did not need to wear their mask when drinking and therefore decided to drink continuously.
For my “warm up” shows at the arts center, there was a white line on the front of the stage that I was forbidden to cross so as not to compromise my social distancing with the audience. There was not to be a race around the auditorium and no member of the audience was to argue.
We will wait to see if the government introduces Covid passports for theaters, but they have said they will be needed for nightclubs from September. Who knows how this will affect the atmosphere in nightclubs when the only wild party-goers allowed are the organized and responsible wild party-goers.
When I first started in stand-up there was no real stand-up circuit and the chances of making a living were negligible. In recent years, there has been an influx of young people to stand up, not because acting has become safer, but because virtually every other job has become more precarious. When the choices are Amazon, Uber, or Deliveroo, a lot of young people think they might as well try their luck with the stand-up, because at least with the stand-up they can tell a customer to go get it. fuck without losing your job – and, with the stand-up, when you try out a particular client, often all the other clients really like it.
The great thing from my point of view is that theaters and comedy clubs are making a comeback because no matter what restrictions may be imposed, it’s still a lot more fun than home schooling. I don’t claim my abilities to home school a nine year old and a three year old, but I know I did a better job than some. A friend of mine went to her husband, who was teaching their four year old at home, to hear the husband say, “Don’t be silly.”
One of the great things about stand-up comedy is that if someone in the audience is a jerk, you can call them up on it. If you ask a member of the audience a question and they give you a stupid answer, you can tease them, ridicule them, question their fashion or their intellect or their parentage. After a period of trial and error, I realized that these are not recommended routes for home schooling. You can let the audience know how you really feel and it can all be part of the show.
It is often not a good idea to let your children know how you really feel, as this is not always helpful. When you mention how tricky home schooling is and your nine-year-old retorts, “Well, you decided to have me,” you don’t need to say, “Hey. well, no, we didn’t actually – it was a bit of an accident. You might not know it, but in Hawaiian your name means surprise.
The skills for home schooling are endless patience, restraint, and letting others express their feelings – for seven hours a day, five days a week – and you still have to deal with that evenings and weekends. -end. As tricky as it may be in theaters with social distancing or masks or Covid passes or endless tours or a full ‘sold out’ quarter of the audience, I take it – please don’t do not close schools again.