Bob Marley is doing a daily “Crona Watch 2020” update on his Facebook page. Photo by Cooper Marley

More than ever, we all could use a good laugh.

Luckily, Maine comics are willing to help. The pandemic has prompted several Maine comedians to take their talents into the virtual world, with YouTube videos or series, daily Facebook updates and even a live Instagram talk show. Though nothing replaces a live audience, comics say, they can still do what they love while giving us all a smile once in a while. At least until live comedy gigs start happening again, and we can all laugh and smile together.

“What we are doing now is OK as a temporary fix for comedy. But I personally want to see smiling faces in person and human reactions in real time,” said comedian Karen Morgan, who lives in Cumberland.

Here’s what some Maine comics are doing to keep the laughs coming.

DAY BY DAY

Bob Marley is letting people share his takes on the weirdness of the current pandemic with his daily “Crona Watch 2020” on his Facebook page. Marley would normally be pretty busy right now, performing dates around the state and country. His daily updates consist of Marley telling us, in his Maine accent, about the latest events of his life in isolation. In one, he talks about how he would create social distancing at his comedy shows in the future, by spacing La-Z-Boy recliners some 10 feet apart and building toilets with bidets right into them. In another, he’s dressed in a full face mask and gloves – looking exactly like every robber’s composite sketch ever drawn – about to do a little banking. In another, he worries that he’s wasted his quarantine time, and should have been lifting weights in his basement to get “ripped, like Brad Pitt or somethin’.”

HERE’S KEITH

During the pandemic, comic Keith Hebert is creating episodes of “The Keith Hebert Show” online. Photo courtesy of Keith Hebert

Keith Hebert has used his hiatus from live shows to work on his own web series, the “The Keith Hebert Show,” on Instagram and YouTube. He plays a fictionalized version of himself talking about his character’s life during the pandemic. The episodes are a few minutes long and have sort of a surreal feel; for some, he uses a green screen to make it seem like he’s on a cruise ship, on a farm or in Europe. Sometimes he talks about various problems, like his fear of the dark or sleep walking or dealing with isolation. He says at one point he might be losing his grasp on reality, then is confronted by his imaginary evil twin, Bad Boy Keith. His evil twin talks about his mom being an evil homemaker, doing the groceries and putting away the perishables only after they’ve all expired.

FULL HOUSE

Comedian Karen Morgan has been posting You Tube videos and writing jokes while at home. Photo courtesy of Karen Morgan

Morgan says she’s still writing at home, but not jokes about the pandemic. She said that as always, a lot of her humor comes from family life. Right now, she’s home with three college students, a high school senior, a husband and an “incontinent dog.” A couple videos she put up recently on her YouTube channel were the result of her cleaning out the attic with her son and finding old 1980s workout videos, including some Jane Fonda tapes, which Morgan tries to follow. She also recently did a live-streamed Zoom show called  “The Best Medicine” with other comedians around the country, talking about isolation. It can also be found on YouTube. She talked about getting stared at because she buys 1,000 frozen pizzas on her grocery runs. “I want to wear a sign that says I have four kids at my house.”

LUNCH BREAK

Comics Anders J. Nielsen and Rachel Gendron have started a live online talk show called “Working Lunch.” Photo courtesy of Rachel Gendron

Comics Rachel Gendron and Anders J. Nielsen, members of the Portland Comedy Co-Op who perform as a duo called Hard Seltzah, have created a weekly talk show on Instagram called Working Lunch. It happens live on Wednesdays on the Hard Seltzah Instagram page at 12:15 p.m. for about 20 to 25 minutes, then stays up for just 24 hours. They started a few weeks ago, having other comedians call in, and now have expanded it to calling friends and other people they know. One recent guest was a friend from New York City talking about what it’s like to isolate in a closet-sized apartment. Gendron has also set up an Instagram page to showcase her parents and what they’re doing, which she calls a “live-ongoing comedy sketch.”

STRAINGER THINGS

Comic Ian Stuart has taken this time in isolation to work on his web series about the world of medical marijuana. It’s called “The Strainger,” referring to the various strains of marijuana, and can be found on his YouTube channel.  Stuart says he writes 20 to 25 jokes for each episode, and picks the best 10 to 15, so it helps him stay in joke-writing practice. In a recent episode, he describes the aroma of one marijuana strain by saying, “it smells like a very expensive salad your fiance would order at a steak house to prove the point that she’s a vegetarian.” Describing another strain he says it shines “like a Twix rapper in a landfill next to a public school.”


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