Comedy in Lockdown (again)

The world has changed rapidly in the last two months and it’s perhaps sad that just as comedians are starting to understand how to produce comedy online or at home or remotely or at a social distance, that the country’s starting to open up again.

Or maybe not? Because let’s face it, this is going to be with us for years. And this has just been the first of many, near-incomprehensible stages.

In the next few years, we’ll see a slew of content about what it’s like to come out of lockdown, or to suddenly be plunged back into it, or how people have had their lives ruined (or improved) as a result of what’s happened. And this could be a good thing for comedy. It certainly makes a change from naval-gazing dramedies about falling in love, or mental health issues, or pregnancy. Now we can have naval-gazing dramedies about falling in love, or mental health issues, and or pregnancy, but in isolation!

What this crisis has shown us, though, is that there is an audience for low budget, scrappy online content that contains actual laughs. Particularly if it can be produced quickly enough to feel timely. Gristmill’s Love In Lockdown, a six-part web series about two people falling in love over Face Time, has quickly gained good viewing figures on YouTube.

Written by Robyn Butler (The Librarians) and Lucy Durack (The Letdown), the show features Durack as Georgie, a working-from-home office manager with nothing much to do but bake, and Ned, a newly out-of-work musician and café worker, who’s turned to online ukulele teaching to make ends meet. When Georgie starts lessons with Ned, a romance between the two seems unlikely – she’s an uptight hard worker and he’s a lazy, disorganised loser – but these are strange times, and anything can happen.

Love In Lockdown isn’t a super hilarious series, but it’s funny in parts and a pleasant enough watch if you have half-an-hour (and who doesn’t these days). We didn’t quite buy that Georgie would fall for Ned (he’s a bit of a dickhead) but we do sort of buy that George (who’s desperate and lonely) might fall for Ned in these circumstances.

Or, for more straight-up – and shorter – laughs, head over to Frank Woodley’s Facebook page and check out his No Bad Ideas series. So far, he’s come up with an amusing suggestion for coping with loneliness during lockdown…

…and another for dealing with the new normal.

Or, there’s Steen Raskopoulos’ Instagram, where he’s posting one-man sketches, impressions and other nonsense on a regular basis.

Are we going to look back at any of this in decades to come and think “Classic comedy!”? Probably not. But it’s keeping us going in the meantime.

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