September 01, 2020
New York City has been called “The Greatest Comedy City In The World” by many, and is credited for crafting some of the funniest people in entertainment history. Stand-up comedy has been one of the most notable and authentic qualities that the legendary New York City has to offer. From open mic nights to a sold-out Madison Square Garden, New Yorkers will find a place to go where they can have a laugh, and for many it’s an opportunity to forget about the struggles of their day.
Unfortunately, for the past six months, these struggles have seemed to only grow as New York City, and the rest of the world, have been battling the novel coronavirus. The mask-wearing, socially distant era of the pandemic has now become our new reality, and our new normal. This way of life has affected all of our lives drastically, causing concern over whether or not life will ever return back to the way it was.
It’s difficult times like these when people need to laugh the most, and while the city is battling the pandemic, stand-up comedy finds a way to adapt. Since the mass-closing of several of NYC’s famous stand-up venues, comedians have been forced to perform their jokes in alternative settings. Hosting stand-up comedy shows outside has become more common this summer. Being outside, where there is room for people to stay socially distant and still enjoy the live event, is a must for many of the city’s comedy lovers. New York City’s famous Central Park has become home for many quarantine comedy shows over the recent months. Club venues like Stand Up NY have re-marketed their brand as Stand Up NY in the Park. They host their comedy shows Tuesday through Sunday, and announce their locations and showtimes the day of on their social media platforms. This way, stand-up fans have the opportunity to go to a live comedy show and still feel comfortable.
If you don’t think you’re ready to attend in-person shows yet, don’t worry. Stand-up comedy is being performed virtually as well, through the use of platforms like Zoom, Facebook, Instagram Live, and more. Introducing what seems like a new age of stand-up comedy, many comedians are finding their own ways of adjusting to the pandemic. While telling jokes to a muted audience is different, it most certainly is possible. Another platform that comics have been utilizing for years in order to try out their premises and punchlines is Twitter. Comedy on the free microblogging and networking app has created an environment where anyone can make their jokes with the potential of going viral across the platform. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for comedians to get discovered on the app and given the chance to take their career to the next level with an opportunity in late night television writing. 25 years ago, getting discovered on the internet from your own home would have sounded absurd. But in 2020, comedy exists across all platforms, and has unlimited potential. While the internet substitutes as an outlet for stand-up comics to continue working on their craft, for some, there’s just nothing better than performing live in front of a real audience, and that’s why I think New York’s stand-up comedy scene will certainly make a comeback with time.