Everything sucks now. I know. Our country is in peril. We are in an environmental crisis. Our president won’t complete full sentences or condemn white supremacy. Also, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Um, wow. 2020, can we not?Tweet
At the beginning of the year, I moved from New York City, where I was born and raised to LA. I don’t know how to drive (oops), I don’t have a job and I just got a cat. The one thing that has saved me is my ability to laugh.
I know it sounds crazy, like I’m lying to make you feel better, but truly all I can do is laugh.
Growing up I was in a pretty bad household situation and to survive I would be the clown. I would make jokes, perform, tap dance at Christmas dinners (even though I never actually learned how to tap dance). I think I also ended up cracking my Uncle’s porcelain floor.
All that being said, COVID has tested my ability to laugh. I’ve watched comedy specials, written jokes, stories, and even started working out. When I think about what comedy means to me, I think about how it is a source of energy. Not having had the opportunity to perform stand-up in 7 months has been hard even though I did read an excerpt from the erotic vampire novel I wrote when I was thirteen on a live stream show. Nobody got it. Which is very reminiscent of how sometimes people never really got my comedy. But it’s been really important to me to stand by my comedic sensibility. I forget that sometimes.
I used to want to conform and copy a style that I saw in my peers. I used to want to hold my mic with two fingers, sit on stools, and talk about the state of our nation. I didn’t know how to do that, I only knew how to tell you the deepest darkest secret about how hard masturbation is sometimes and that my niece is currently my competition. I’m going to beat that 2-year-old in cuteness I SWEAR.
COVID broke me at first as it did a lot of people. Nobody knew what to do with themselves which is kind of a blessing in disguise because it has made us listen to ourselves more. At least it has for me. I used to think I knew who I was and what comedy meant to me. The truth is I had no idea who I was, I just knew that running around from club to club several nights a week was exhausting. I respect those who choose to pursue comedy in that way, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t handle the obligation and I worked a full-time job. But my comedic sensibility is my superpower. It’s how I survive and it is my secret weapon.
I can look at anyone and make them laugh…most of the time.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, COVID has forced me to look in the mirror and try to make myself laugh. I smile and I brush my hair, take a shower, and cook dinner (I’m eating way too many carbs these days) but, sometimes I can’t laugh. So, I look for it. I look for it in my apartment, in my cat who will not stop talking, and I’ll look for it in my friends and family.
Laughing and comedy can bring people together. I learned early on in my life that if you can make someone laugh or you both find something funny, you can’t hate each other. It’s a unifier even if you disagree. It reminds us that we need each other. And then after you laugh you move on and bake some cookies using the wrong recipe making one giant cookie by accident. You laugh. You then buy a plant because it’s a Global Pandemic and you wanna “get into plants.” Plants might help. And you spend $10 on a succulent that you didn’t realize was 2 inches. You laugh. You get a UTI on your period because the universe wants you to feel humbled. You realize you have to take care of yourself. You then laugh. You watch TV and make dinner, it all falls to the floor, you laugh and then cry.
I know I’m talking to you about the importance of comedy during this time but I think laughing and comedy is just as important as releasing your emotions and stress. Because after a while you’ll look at yourself in the mirror and see a puffy booger monster.
And honestly, it’s not a great look on you, but you’ll suddenly feel free.
I love watching videos of people going crazy about wearing masks and throwing tantrums. They make me feel a lot better about my character. Sometimes I wonder if I should laugh at all because more than half the time the people shouting are abusing and abusing those around them. Is it alright to laugh at someone else’s pain? Sometimes, I say a hard yes, and other times I feel for their mind and soul. Can you tell I’m getting into crystals these days? Sue me. Don’t, I don’t have a job and my cat needs food and cat litter and I need tampons. Do you have any idea how expensive tampons are?!
But I digress.
When it comes to comedy these days, it’s unhealthy to force it but it is also unhealthy to ignore it. The world is on fire (literally California is on fire) but we deserve to breathe and let out a laugh. If you need to write jokes, write those jokes! If you need to make funny videos, make those funny videos! If you need to prank your roommate, prank that roommate. If you need to watch hours of cat videos, watch those cat videos! You deserve it. You really do! Laugh out loud, cry into your pillow, both things will save your life.
Becca Beberaggi is a NYC-based comedian who writes on humor and life. Her work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Elite Daily, and XOJane.
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