How Comedians Kill During a Pandemic

Handout
Handout

Comedian Nate Bargatze had 100 stand-up gigs lined up for 2020. All of them were canceled. But after six months of navigating the pandemic, he has figured out how to replace at least a portion: He’s about to embark on a two-month, 20-city tour of live shows at drive-in theaters. 

For the most part, the tour is good news. “The bad part,” he told The Daily Beast, “is if someone is bored and wants to leave, I’m going to see their headlights turn on and watch them drive away during the show.”

Since early spring, stand-up has seen traditional sources of income—live gigs—disappear. Comics have had to get creative: Jim Gaffigan turned to live-streaming his family dinners and making web shows with his kids. Sarah Cooper’s stint of lip-syncing to Trump on TikTok landed her a Netflix special. In late March, Reggie Watts launched an app, Watts App, which

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‘Zoom Bombing’ Is A Pandemic Thing; It’s Also A Bullying Thing

ACROSS AMERICA — The timing of the “Zoom bombing” in a high-profile federal court hearing Friday in Georgia made it especially hurtful, but it’s emblematic of the intrusions that courts, schools, businesses and government councils are confronting as they gather online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Zoom bombing — to be clear, it happens on Google Meet and other videoconferencing platforms, too — is a relatively new form of cyberbullying that’s exposing everyone from kindergartners to senior court judges and a lot of people in between to behaviors that range from benign hijinks to racist screeds to criminal conduct.

And, some kids are still bullying other kids, finding new ways in virtual classrooms to torment their classmates.

Friday was the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, and an intruder going by the username “Osama” took control of an online hearing and flashed videos and still images of the terror attacks,

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California artists try to adapt to new world wrought by pandemic

CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the lives of Americans in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced California small business owner Stephanie Mufson to make dramatic changes to survive. In July, she told CBS News she wasn’t sure if her company Parade Guys, which builds floats and large displays for outdoor festivals would make it. 

Mufson, an independent artist, typically works with a team of contractors who are experts at painting, sculpting, and building floats for outdoor festivals and parades in the San Francisco Bay Area.

But in the last six months, festivals like the San Francisco Pride Parade and Fourth of July celebrations did not take place in person, resulting in economic hardship for the independent contractors who rely on those outdoor festivals for work. 

“It is not the same world that I spent most of my life basing my career around,” Mufson

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The pandemic techno-future that wasn’t

Exactly six months ago today, while Americans were still conflating Corona beer with coronavirus, I found myself suddenly, guiltily, free. It was March 15, and my governor, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, had just asked all businesses in the state to voluntarily close to stop the spread of COVID-19; five days later, the order would be mandatory for non-essential businesses, and additionally ban gatherings of any size for any reason. As a citizen, I was terrified; as an introvert, though, I confess I was giddy about the excuse-free cancelation of all foreseeable plans and obligations.

For some, though, the past half year has accelerated the nightmare that science-fiction has been warning about for decades: the future in which we work virtually, go to school virtually, have virtual movie nights and happy hours and concerts and gym sessions and church services, even date virtually. The pandemic represents, in other words, an

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How Has the Pandemic Changed Your Spending Habits?

(Bloomberg Opinion) — One of the few bright spots in a very challenging year has been the monthly emails from my budgeting app showing huge declines in my spending. I can’t take much credit for the drops, given all the Covid-19 restrictions and risks that have prevented my family from spending at usual capacity. But still, it’s nice to see something moving in the right direction.

The app says we’ve been saving between $2,000 to $3,500 each month since March. And compared to the same period in 2019, our credit-card balances are down 25% to 30%, led by a complete halt in travel, dining out and my thrice-annual hair-color appointments. 

This echoes some of the broader spending trends in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, categories like clothing, recreation and food services experienced rapid declines in the second quarter of 2020, compared with previous quarters. 

Some of

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How California lawmakers flouted pandemic safety practices

Clockwise from upper left: State Sen. Jim Nielsen, Assembly members Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer Sr., Ian Calderon and Patrick O'Donnell <span class="copyright">(California State Senate; California State Assembly)</span>
Clockwise from upper left: State Sen. Jim Nielsen, Assembly members Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer Sr., Ian Calderon and Patrick O’Donnell (California State Senate; California State Assembly)

In California, cradle of renowned tech startups and Silicon Valley, elementary school students have had to figure out how to work remotely, but lawmakers have not.

As the end-of-session frenzy gripped the state Legislature in late August, pandemic no-nos spiked: Lawmakers gathered indoors in large numbers and huddled closely, let their masks slip below their noses, smooshed together for photos and shouted “Aye!” and “No!” when voting in the Senate, potentially spraying virus-laden particles at their colleagues.

“It’s terrible role-modeling,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan, assistant professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University. “Why do we have to do this if they’re not doing it?”

Legislative leaders are divided on whether remote voting violates the state constitution. Nonetheless, it was authorized — should it be

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Egypt tries plasma treatment to fight pandemic

Mohamed Fathi, an Egyptian man who has recovered from Covid-19, winced as he watched tubes running down his arm to donate blood plasma, but insisted: “if I can help just one person, that’s a very good thing”.

The 25-year-old land surveyor from Cairo caught the disease in May, on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival, becoming one of the almost 100,000 reported cases in Egypt, where more than 5,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus.

“Losing the sense of taste was a terrible experience,” he told AFP at Egypt’s National Blood Transfusion headquarters in Cairo, describing just one of his symptoms. “You feel like you’re eating for the sake of it.”

Things got worse for the family when his elderly father was also infected, making Egypt’s blistering hot summer months a hellish period of fretting over his recovery from a loud, dry cough and constant fevers.

“I

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During pandemic, Black families put trust in Black doctors

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Dr. Janice Bacon was exactly the person Kay McField hoped to talk to when she found herself spending most of her days in bed, feeling too depressed to get up as the coronavirus pandemic threatened those around her.

As she watched those closest to her test positive for the virus — a goddaughter and her uncle, whom she cares for, among them — McField said she was terrified that she or her daughter, who both suffer from autoimmune diseases, would fall ill. When she wasn’t in bed, the 51-year-old single mother was cleaning her house compulsively.

“It was just this constant panic,” she said, her arms pressed to her chest. “I wanted to talk to someone I knew was going to listen, who I could trust.”

A Black primary care physician practicing in Mississippi for nearly four decades, Bacon works at an all-African American-run trio of

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The pandemic is changing the future of fashion and shopping. Why that’s a good thing

 <span class="copyright">(Lucila Perini / For The Times)</span>
(Lucila Perini / For The Times)

Given the chaos and uncertainty wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to pin down the top fashion and beauty trends of a year hence feels as futile as trying to pick a living room wallpaper pattern while your house is on fire. But we tried anyway by surveying a range of L.A.-based designers, brand builders and retailers to find out what the luxury landscape might look like 12 to 18 months down the road.

The general consensus? Although no one — not even the trend analysts who make their living forecasting such things — is exactly sure what the future of fashion looks like, what they agreed on is that, because of the pandemic, the future of retail and design is actually arriving way ahead of schedule, with back-burner projects front-burnered and fashion’s never-ending hamster wheel getting a good, hard look.

“We had trends

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The pandemic is revolutionizing fashion and shopping. Why that’s a good thing

 <span class="copyright">(Lucila Perini / For The Times)</span>
(Lucila Perini / For The Times)

Given the chaos and uncertainty wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to pin down the top fashion and beauty trends of a year hence feels as futile as trying to pick a living room wallpaper pattern while your house is on fire. But we tried anyway by surveying a range of L.A.-based designers, brand builders and retailers to find out what the luxury landscape might look like 12 to 18 months down the road.

The general consensus? Although no one — not even the trend analysts who make their living forecasting such things — is exactly sure what the future of fashion looks like, what they agreed on is that, because of the pandemic, the future of retail and design is actually arriving way ahead of schedule, with back-burner projects front-burnered and fashion’s never-ending hamster wheel getting a good, hard look.

“We had trends

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