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Comedians find new avenues to deliver laughs during pandemic

San Diego Comedy Festival packs in a week's worth of laughs
Posted at 12:42 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 15:50:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — With comedy clubs closed during the coronavirus pandemic, laughter is more essential than ever.

For comedians who rely on not only performing on stage but the audience whose feedback is so important, they're left to other devices to hone their craft.

Kyle Kazanjian-Amory, founder of Don't Tell Comedy, says comedians are still finding a way to connect with people over different platforms.

Don't Tell Comedy usually hosts a show somewhere in San Diego at a secret location. For them, that secret venue has become a private link online.

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"There are tons of comedians from all over the country just trying to figure out how to spend their time, also how to make money during this time which is so difficult," Kazanjian-Amory says. "But it's been cool to see the support from people who have the means to be able to throw a few bucks to some comedians during this time."

Social media platforms offer comedians a venue, and if anything, spark a new way of delivering comedic relief. From Zoom stand up shows to sketches, Kazanjian-Amory said.

"The coolest things I've seen are some of the Instagram Lives where people are doing something unique and different," he added. "There's this comedian in New York, her name is Meg Stalter, and she's been doing these Instagram Live things that are just hilarious, like playing different characters. I saw her, she was playing an energy reader, it's so funny. And people are all also generating some great sketches too."

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For Jimmy Callaway, who took his comedy career from San Diego to Los Angeles, it feels like a waiting game without the payoff.

"It's like if you got drafted by a football team and never got to play, how do you know you're any good if you can't get into the game? How can you get better riding the bench? How does one use sports metaphors when one can't even play checkers without getting winded? We may never know the answers," Callaway said.

Laughter is still considered the best medicine, but how it's administered during stay at home orders forces some creative moves — perhaps perfect for comedy's creative minds.

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"What we've had to come to terms with this is just going to be different for a while. We're going to have to figure out a format that will be different and interesting, unique and will play to the strengths of certain comedians. We're all still figuring it out," Kazanjian-Amory says.