How Stand-Up Comedians Pivoted During The Pandemic

Iliza Shlesinger, Dave Chappelle, and Carmen Lynch all found creative ways to continue sharing their comedy when the pandemic first hit. We have the breakdown of how they adjusted.  

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. fast in March of 2020, the entertainment industry needed to adapt in order to continue providing enjoyable content to its audiences. For stand-up comedians, it was difficult to find that new route, and performances via Zoom didn’t hit the right way.

Elder Millennial and Unveiled comedian Iliza Shlesinger immediately took to social media with chef husband Noah Galuten to broadcast a live-at-home cooking show: Don’t Panic Pantry. Don’t Panic Pantry (DPP), simulcasted on Instagram Live and Facebook Live, is a how-to showing audience how to better prepare food, and gives unique, tasty recipe ideas. In a time of crisis, DPP provides a soothing outlet for both first-time home chefs and experienced foodies during the quarantine.

During the show, Iliza and Noah answer audience questions live and continue to have fun conversations amidst directing the recipe preparation. Iliza’s reactions to the recipe and the stories she shares while cooking showcase a small taste of her sense of humor while providing an extra pinch of entertainment to the cooking process. DPP continues to air every week on Instagram @ilizas and the Facebook page for Iliza Shlesinger.


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Like Iliza, Dave Chappelle was also determined to find ways to continue sharing his comedy. On his recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Chapelle talked to Fallon about being the first comedian to open up outdoor shows early on in the pandemic. Although the social distancing and decreased maximum capacity took some time to get used to, Chappelle shared that he “couldn’t wait” to return to the stage, doing what he loves best.

If you’re not able to attend Chappelle’s summer 2021 in-person tour, another great way to enjoy his work is through his new podcast “The Midnight Miracle” with friends Talib Kweli and yasiin bey. It is available only on Luminary Original Podcasts.

Similar to Chappelle, New York City comedian Carmen Lynch performed at outdoor shows in Central Park early on in the pandemic, but she also took to other routes to continue sharing her comedy. Shortly after quarantine began, Lynch and boyfriend John Reynolds began recording and sharing their podcast “The Human Centipod”. Recorded in Reynolds’mother’s car (whom the pair have been quarantining with), the two discuss fun stories and interesting topics as a means of distraction from the pandemic. Lynch and Reynolds’ “The Human Centipod” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts, with new episodes every Thursday.

In addition to “The Human Centipod”, in mid-November of 2020 Lynch started up a Spanish podcast, “Conversando con Carmen” where she shares conversations with other individuals in the entertainment and news industry. Lynch and her guests discuss their careers and share fun stories while providing a means for listeners to practice their Spanish listening skills. The podcast can be found on Lynch’s YouTube page “Carmen Lynch”.

If you’re itching to find pandemic-safe forms of comedic entertainment, look no further than Iliza Shlesinger, Dave Chappelle, and Carmen Lynch. Although the COVID-19 pandemic did not create ideal situations for stand-up comedy, these three comics found and continue to utilize other outlets to showcase their creativity and humor during difficult times. Hopefully, these comedians and their content will not only entertain but will inspire you along the way, too.

About the Author

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Lauren Weber

Lauren Weber is a Penn State University student majoring in Telecommunications and minoring in Spanish. An aspiring television producer, she enjoys focusing her time on writing, video editing, and producing excellent media content.