I-Team: Humor in the face of a pandemic


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — People in Las Vegas and around the world are finding ways to laugh in the face of COVID-19 (coronavirus).   You see it every day on social media as people unleash their inner comedians to keep a smile on our lips. 

What a blanking year this week has been.  That tweet sort of summarizes our collective understanding that reality has been supplanted by the supremely surreal. 

Five weeks ago, would we have laughed because handshakes had been replaced with foot bumps? Or chuckled at people dressing for trench warfare before grocery shopping? Perhaps even wondered why the twins from The Shining are standing in the empty paper products aisle? 

“Wash your hands as if you’ve just sliced jalapenos and need to take your contacts out”, the State of Texas advised.   Tutorials about how to wash your hands are so last month, replaced by step by step instructions for how to transform hankies into lifesavers.

Churches are taking a stab at humor too, “had not planned on giving up quite this much for lent’, one church admitted. 

A shuttered Las Vegas strip club joked “sorry we’re clothed,” was a billboard on the club’s marquee.

Humor is virus proof. It can’t be quarantined either.  The simplest things are suddenly funny.  Even your fridge is a potential hoot the corona beer is isolated.

 What’s that saying about the mother of invention? This invention is worthy of Rube Goldberg, while another bored guy stuck at home made his own slot machine using toilet paper for reels.

Jokes about toilet paper are way more common than toilet paper itself.   It’s the new cryptocurrency—“butt-coin.”

 “My house got TP’d last night and is now worth a fortune.”

 “Indiana Jones and the last roll.”

 A video combined two online favorites, toilet paper and pets doing indoor tricks, that left us left asking, where’d they get all that toilet paper?

Clearly, a lot of us are using humor as a coping mechanism. 

Comedian Sean Donnelly weighed in saying, “Even though it’s a very trite saying laughter is the best medicine, it really does work, I think you’re changing the amount of importance for humor and in times of strife is paramount.”

Sean Donnelly is a successful stand-up comic with numerous TV appearances and specials, he tours comedy clubs all over the country, including Las Vegas, or did.

His profession doesn’t really exist right now. So, he uses social media and podcasts to connect with fans and is enjoying the current explosion of online amateur comedy.

“I feel like there’s two things going on coronavirus memes and Tiger King memes from Netflix. People are just mixing the two and people are even laughing out loud from this stuff and it’s making me feel better, ” said Donnelly.

When asked if this humor was sort of like the equivalent of flipping the bird in the face of danger? Donnelly answered,  “Absolutely. I think it’s saying FU corona.”

It’s amazing what people can put together when they have free time on their hands. 

The musical parodies are not too bad, with production values better than some movies. On Facebook, jokes come as fast as a Jay Leno routine. Take for example the latest list of COVID-19 pickup lines:

“I saw you from across the bar…. stay there.”

“Hey babe can I ship you a drink?”

“You can’t spell virus without u and i.”

 It’s bound to make some of you reading this groan, go ahead.

Sean Donnelly lives in queens, which is ground zero for the virus.  He knows how serious things are and that some lines can’t be crossed right now, but keeping our spirit up is a positive thing.

“It’s absolutely important to get your mind off things. Because, you know, your mood can affect your actual physical health. So, humor can only help that,” added Donnelly.

The other good thing to come of the virus lock-down, we’ve learned that pants and bras should be optional going forward.

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