There’s less comedy to go around with Covid, because comics are opting out of distancing


Kathleen DeMarle performs at The Comedy Studio in Somerville’s Union Square in 2018. (Photo: Kathleen DeMarle via Facebook)

It’s not just there are fewer comedy shows to go to. The coronavirus lockdown is thinning the ranks of comedians as well, according to the panel hosting “The Comedy Studio Podcast” out of the Union Square, Somerville, comedy club and their Sept. 8 guest, comic Kathleen DeMarle.

The longer the lockdown goes on, the more it looks like there will be a “lost generation” of standup comics, never getting started at open mics to hone their material, a topic Comedy Studio owner Rick Jenkins first raised in the “Two-Year Anniversary Exit Interview” episode.

“I look at the generation that was coming in, the people who have been on four or five years, and a lot of them aren’t doing the online stuff. They’re not doing the outdoor shows,” Jenkins said. “Maybe they’re at home all the time with their notebooks? But I see a whole slew of people who are just like, well, now that comedy’s that much tougher to do, it’s just one more step beyond where they’re willing to go.”

It’s been harder to fill the Studio’s own virtual comedy slots, and even seasoned professionals such as Gary Gulman are opting out of Zoom comedy, booker and podcast co-host Danny Hatch said. Jenkins has also been noticing the phenomenon by attending Zoom comedy shows nightly and seeing who’s participating. (Co-host Eli Levy admitted to being one of the coronavirus dropouts, “in the mindset of, ’Oh, I should use this opportunity to live some life and not just do comedy.’”) It’s a topic the hosts returned to in the next week’s podcast with comic Dan Boulger, who hasn’t been doing much work either.

DeMarle said the culling of comedians might not be the worst thing.

“We’re gonna see a lot of comics fall out, And actually, I’m kind of okay with that,” DeMarle said. “It sounds bad. But I think that there were a little bit too much of a pool of people that were in it for reasons other than wanting to do comedy. They were in it for the social aspect, or finding other people with similar interests. And it’ll be good to see who’s still interested after all of this.”

The Comedy Studio is closed for the lockdown, but produces virtual comedy most days of the week – including streaming the recording of the free podcast before an episode drops every Tuesday.

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