Using comedy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Feb 7, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:58 pm

Actor-comedian Julie Nolke found fame joking about the pandemic with a series of YouTube videos in which she visits her past self with news of the COVID to come.

Now, she says she’s had enough.

“I would love to be in the position to say no more,” Nolke said. A common sentiment among some of the other comedians we interviewed.

Tired of COVID-19. Tired of COVID-19 jokes.

“It’s sort of outlived its shelf life,” said Salt Lake City standup comic Josh Fonokokafi.

“There is a point where we definitely go, ‘let’s just laugh about regular stuff,’’ said Steve Soelberg, also from Utah.

Yet, pandemic-inspired material lives on. Lisa Baker, a Calgary comedian with a Newfoundland accent, said she just can’t ignore it.

“I feel like it’s like an elephant in the room,” she said.

When she “got COVID for Christmas” she kept posting videos, like the one in which she exclaims merrily, “This is my time to shine!” because the children she took care of when sick, would now take care of her. (Spoiler: they didn’t.)

“It’s almost like we’re all having this collective breakdown. And we’re all just like, laughing maniacally at everything,” Baker says.

“Ultimately when you can’t really change anything, maybe laughter is the best thing that you should do,” Soelberg said.

“I think people still need the content,” Nolke said.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m tired of it. Or if I feel like the joke is over. I also see it as my responsibility to kind of overcome my own exhaustion with the pandemic and create stuff that the audience is looking for even now, even after two years.

I think if the audience is asking for it, I kind of owe it to them.”

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Using comedy during the COVID-19 pandemic