| Brittany Brave is Bringing The Laughs to Your Living Room
| Friday, May 29, 2020
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the stand-up comedy community was left without a stage to perform on, or an audience to entertain. For NYC-based comedian Brittany Brave, the timing couldn’t have possibly been worse.
“This was the first year that I was really casting my financial net to the wayside, and most of my income was going to be coming from comedy,” she explains, “I joke it’s a terrible time to be following your dreams.”
Brave’s dreams, however, had been coming to fruition, with a monthly night of comedy she hosts and curates at Rockwood Music Hall titled Rock Candy, and her long-running female-focused series of events titled Cat Call, which she’s currently turning into a podcast, and digital show. It could easily be said she's climbed numerous rungs on the proverbial ladder to success, but that ladder came crashing down, and not just for her, but for all of her peers, as well.
“I noticed it was like two or three weeks into the quarantine when all the comedians were posting, ‘Oh man, I fucking miss getting on stage. Shit, this is weird, I’ve been on stage every night for the last two years, I don’t know what to do with myself.’”
One thing comedians started doing was going on Instagram Live, but as Brave notes, while those can be fun, “They’re not as engaging, and they don’t really get a chance to connect with an audience.”
Knowing there had to be something else she could do, Brave made the decision to head down to Florida to quarantine with her family, at which point she found the perfect stage – her house. Actually, more precisely, your house.
The Quarantine Comedy Show
With the video conferencing app Zoom becoming a new constant in people’s lives, Brave saw it as an opportunity to do something special in the world of stand-up comedy.
“As this quarantine progressed we all kinda got a little bit more desperate for comic relief, and a distraction, and an outlet, and live entertainment,” she explains, “so I started reaching out to past corporate clients, (and) people who had come to comedy shows. It started off very organically, and grassroots. I was like, ‘Hey, I saw you have a birthday coming up, if you want a birthday party comedy show we can make it as affordable and flexible as you want, we can do games, we can roast you.’”
She adds that in addition to being fully customizable, there are other perks involved for people having a 90 minute comedy show streamed directly into their home, including the big one – “They don’t have to put pants on.”
In addition to not having to dress to impress, she says, “You can drink as much as you can, you can go on mute, and you can still cook dinner in the background while you have a live comedy show being streamed into your apartment.”
Isolation and the Stand-Up Comic
One of the reasons Brave and her peers have been working diligently to be creative while stuck at home is they understand what isolation can do to a person.
“This isolation is causing a lot of people to peel layers back on themselves,” Brave says, “we have a lot of space to feel and process things, and I think this goes for everybody – men, women, single, married – you just have infinite time, and you’re alone with your thoughts. You know what’s interesting, I think the reason why comedians have a stronghold on this right now is because we’re very used to being alone with our thoughts, and having not great thoughts, and dark thoughts, and crazy thoughts, and crazy observations, and it’s not always bleak and depressing, but I think this is our forte.”
She adds that when it comes to stand-up comics, “We can be very introverted, introspective people, for better or worse, so I think (performing) is really helping, psychology, pull people out of … make them feel present again.”
The Near Future of Stand-Up Comedy
As the country, and world as a whole, slowly opens up, music and comedy venues will likely be among the last allowed to restart their business, and when they’re given the OK it will probably be with a reduced capacity for a certain amount of time.
Where does this leave Brave and her peers?
“I’ve heard the ‘stand-up comedy, live comedy, is dead’ argument. I don’t believe that, personally. I think individual clubs might suffer. I think we might take some casualties with that, like in music, as well. That sucks, for sure, but I don’t think that an entire medium of entertainment, or communication, just eradicates itself that easily, just goes away that easily.”
While she doesn’t agree with the idea that stand-up is dead, she does see where the nihilistic sentiment is coming from. “I don’t think, at least initially, the comedy landscape is going to look like what it did, and I think people are catastrophizing that, and making it out to be like it’s dead forever, and that’s just not true. It’s not like people are gonna forget about comedy. There are still diehard comedy fans out there.”
Being that shows will be limited, and attendance will be down, when comics are back on stage, Brave sees the virtual world as something she and her peers have to find a way to make sustainable for at the very least the short term. This has her envisioning a world without borders for comedians.
“It can be really cool, if you think about it, to have a lineup of comedians that come from L.A., New York, and Miami, and you don’t have to have travel costs, you can just put a comedy show together and anybody can tune in around the world. I think that spreads reach.”
Brave also sees online comedy shows and events potentially leading to more foot traffic once clubs reopen, and are allowed to be at max capacity.
“I’m optimistic in that I think that people are gonna have a newfound respect for stand-up. Even a lot of people who didn’t normally go and catch stand-up shows before this, if you can meet them where they are, no pants necessary, make them laugh on a Zoom comedy show, who knows, you might change their mind so that when things do get up and running again they might be like, ‘You know, let’s go to a comedy show tonight.’”
The Enduring Power of Laughter
Since launching her Quarantine Comedy Show concept, Brave says the response to the personalized events has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Maybe it’s because you’re catching people at a time when they have undivided attention. Maybe it’s because they really need comic relief right now. I don’t know. I don’t know what combination of factors it is, but people are really over the moon to have entertainment.”
Brave has one other theory as to why the shows are going so well, saying that while a single day can feel especially long right now, “if (for) 90 minutes of it you get to just watch, and all of your friends are there, and laugh, it makes the day go by. I definitely think in terms of mental health it’s doing wonders, and it’s making sense, like comedy always does, it’s making sense of an otherwise really fucking confusing, bizarre, time.”
For more Brittany Brave, follow her on Instagram, where she goes live every Sunday, and keep up with her on Twitter, and Facebook. For booking information, go to brittanybrave.com.
Labels: Entertainment Features
|posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM