6 LGBTQ comics make the most of queer comedy quarantine

What do you do when your gig life dries up? If you’re a queer in comedy, you take your show off the road, interact with the world virtually, and do what you gotta do like the rest of us, only funnier.

LGBTQ Atlanta’s own Ian Aber reached out to five of the best in the biz, with and without local roots, to see how they are handling coronavirus lockdown and making comedy lemonade out of quarantine lemons. We liked his Q&As so much, we asked for his answers to the same questions and put them at the end.

In addition to their humor and thoughts, they let us know how to enjoy their talents from the comfort of our own sofas, beds and living room floors. 

JESS SALOMON

Where are you quarantining?

Chertsey, Québec. It’s basically some woods northeast of Montréal, my home town.

 

Are you an essential worker?

While we were still in NYC, the floor captain in our building sent out an email asking if anyone had any special skills. People wrote back saying: I'm a doctor, I'm a vet, I have an office across the street if anyone needs to make use of it. I had to say, "Just two female comics over here in 5c."

Some people responded saying, "laughter is more important now than ever."

So, yes.

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in quarantine?

I'm a fan of dark jokes. So this is my bread and butter baby!

LOL, I'm not doing well at all. Just panic scrolling. Waiting for the "plus time" part of the equation to kick in after the "tragedy".

 

What entertainment would you recommend?

For watching, “Feel Good” on Netflix. It stars Mae Martin, a queer Canadian comic who has built a career in the UK. It's a short series that just came out and is so funny and perfect in the way it deals with addiction, self-destructive behavior and new relationships. It's also beautifully directed by a queer female director also from Canada (now in L.A.) named Ally Pankiw. Oh, and Lisa Kudrow plays Mae's mum!

I loved “Sex Education.” Gillian Anderson was my first gay crush, and let me tell you, it's still going strong. Also “Please Like Me.” It's a hilarious Australian sitcom with a lot of cute dog content plus Hannah Gadsby is in it.

Quick mentions to “Unorthodox,” which is excellent, and the stage version of “Fleabag,” which is streaming online.

I mostly read articles and news sadly but, I did read Jessica Simpson's autobiography, and honestly, a very fun time and good escape.

 

Anything that you wouldn’t recommend?

“Tiger King.” I've enjoyed the jokes and memes that came out of it, but yuck.

 

What are you working on while in quarantine?

Holding my marriage together. Hey-ooo!

Actually, the main project has been training our puppy, Esther Honey. It's insane that we got a puppy right be before this hit. It's suspiciously good timing. I feel like a Republican senator that bought Zoom stock in January after a closed-door briefing with the CDC.

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine?

The feeling that things that I loved, like performing for people in the same room, will never be the same. Also, the sadness I feel for New York City.

 

What’s the best part of quarantine?

My wife's banana bread! She is thriving in quarantine, learning Spanish, working out, reading books not about Jessica Simpson. She is loving this, and I can't tell if it's because she's always hated working or because she's been through war.

 

Your quarantine day:

 9 a.m. I am asleep.

 3 p.m. I am staring at a blank page.

 9 p.m. I am doing the dishes, so many dishes.  

 2 a.m. I am masturbating to photos of travel and packed audiences.

 

First thing you think of when you wake up?

I have a few alarms set to take the puppy to pee. So, my puppy's bladder. A welcome improvement from the usual "how much worse will things get today?"

 

Last thing you think before you go to sleep?

Will America descend into civil war?

 

Besides screens, what else are you doing to pass the time?

See what my nephew is up to. He's 4 years old and has been truly living his best life. He's obsessed with cleaning, baking, gardening and dressing up as Freddie Mercury. He might have a hard time going back once things open up. He absolutely kills me, and I can't help but be happy when I see his face.

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

Go back to my apartment in New York and take my wife out to the restaurant of her choice. Actually, no hold on, Hair Salon! Unless I've shaved my head. I came very close, but then I put my face through a balding app, and that bought me a few weeks.

 

Anything to promote?

I have an album called "All the Best Choices" out everywhere. There is also my Tonight Show appearance. And please follow me on Twitter @jess_salomon and my cartoon account with my wife on IG @TheElSalomons. Our illustrator, Jesse Brown is a true genius.

 

ANDREW MARKLE

Where are you quarantining?

Cookeville, Tennessee. It’s an hour east of Nashville. We don’t even have a Target.

 

Are you an essential worker?

They keep telling us we are, but idk. I’m a flight attendant, and we’re still flying... not necessarily people but we are transporting a good bit of medical supplies and tests. I have a letter I’m supposed to show the police if I get pulled over on my way to/ from work.

 

How has it been being out during the pandemic?

It’s very odd to be working during all of this. I’ve worked flights with three people on them. Airports are empty. Shops are closed. Hotels are empty. It’s very “Twilight Zone.”

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in quarantine?

My inner dialogue has become an outer dialogue. It’s a lot of sarcastic passive aggressiveness towards my boyfriend. Like our dogs had a very loud conversation about how they thought it was my boyfriend’s turn to make dinner and run to the store for some wine.

 

Any electronic entertainment that you’d recommend?

I’ve been playing “Animal Crossing” on Switch, and that’s been a nice little escape.

 

Anything you wouldn’t recommend?

I watched “Tiger King.” I can’t get that time back to do better things, but I’ve made peace with that. Much like Carol Baskin has made peace with killing her husband.

 

What are you working on while in quarantine?

I’ve been working on new material but not too sure how I’m going to feel about it when I’m actually able to do it in front of people. I’ve also been out and about taking photographs and that has been very satisfying creatively.

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine?

My boyfriend had to give me a haircut. The weather is so nice, and all of the state parks are closed in Tennessee.

 

What’s the best part of quarantine?

We got a Boston Terrier puppy, and it’s been wonderful. It’s really nice to be home to get to spend time with my boyfriend. We both typically have very busy schedules, and it’s nice to slow down for a bit.

 

Your quarantine day:

9 a.m. I am channeling my mother, drinking coffee on the couch while watching the “Today Show” on NBC.

3 p.m. I have been drinking vodka since 10 a.m. 

9 p.m. Dixie and Bubgee are having a very loud conversation in the living room how it’s their oldest dad’s turn to clean up the kitchen from dinner.

2 a.m. I’m dead ass asleep.

 

First thing you think of when you wake up?

Is it over?

 

Last thing you think before you go to sleep?

Damn, I forgot to bring that one guy another beer in seat 24c six weeks ago. Oh well.

 

Besides, what else are you doing to pass the time?

I bought a drone. I’ve been flying that.

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

I’m going to destroy some hibachi!

 

Where can people find more of you?

Follow me on Instagram @originalmarkle if you want to see when I’m performing next, where I’m traveling to and my dogs.

 

RILEY SILVERMAN

Where are you quarantining?

Los Angeles.

 

Are you an essential worker?

No, I'm thankfully working from home. 

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in quarantine?

Absolute absurdity. Silliness, puns, that kind of stuff. Anything too heavy right now, and I just feel like I'm sinking. The occasional snarky tweet, I suppose, but otherwise I just wanna be goofy. 

 

What’s your highest rec for entertainment?

“What We Do in the Shadows” just came back, and I'm so glad for it. It's like the exact tone of what I need right now. 

 

Anything you wouldn’t recommend?

The news. It's just the same plot repeated over and over again, and some of the characters are so cartoonish. Hire some new writers and bring in a new cast, guys. 

 

What are you producing / working on?

Mostly just doing some quick writing for web outlets like Nerdist, SYFY and Screen Junkies. Was feeling guilty about not writing “King Lear,” but then I'd have to feel guilty about not already having written “Julius Caesar,” “Romeo & Juliet” and around 20 other plays, and who has the time?

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine?

Being so far away from my family and my girlfriend. I was supposed to have visited them last week, but obviously that didn't happen. It's really hard not knowing when I'll see the people I love again.

 

What’s the best part of self-quarantine?

I've really given in to being a "leggings count as pants" girl. 

 

Your quarantine day:

9 a.m. I am shoveling a hastily made breakfast into my mouth as I start work

3 p.m. I am desperately wishing I'd had better ideas to pitch today

9 p.m. I am on the phone with my girlfriend as she falls asleep in Ohio.

2 a.m. I am waking up after falling asleep with the TV on. 

 

First thing you think of when you wake up?

Doing the math of just how long I can stay in bed before I have to start doing stuff. 

 

Last thing you think before you go to sleep?

Figuring out which movie to put on so I can drown out my thoughts enough to sleep.

 

Besides screens, what else are you doing to pass the time?

I guess it's technically still "screens," but I've been playing so much D&D online with friends. It's one of the few things that keep me feeling sane and normal. 

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

Fly home to visit as soon as it's safe. 

 

Any shows you’d like to promote?

I play The Doctor in a silly “Doctor Who” roleplaying game podcast, “The Game of Rassilon.” We've been doing it for about two years now, and we're still recording during quarantine, just via online, so that's been a fun thing to keep me going.

 

AKEEM WOODS

Where are you quarantining?

L.A.

 

Are you an essential worker?

I am not, but I mean laughter is essential... right??

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in quarantine?

I think about way more random stuff, but it does help that I live with a few other comics.

 

Any recs for quarantine entertainment?

I re-watched all of the “Golden Girls,” and I'm almost finished with re-watching “Buffy.” Not counting re-watches, I'm enjoying the show “Good Girls,” mainly because the villain is soooooo fine. As far as books go, I finished “The Mother Of Black Hollywood” by Jennifer Lewis, and it was phenomenal. I totally listened to it on audio book, but that still counts!

 

Anything you wouldn’t recommend?

I hated the Netflix show “Love is Blind,” but I couldn't stop watching it. It was ridiculous. The whole concept was like “love doesn’t care about appearances,” but then everyone on the damn show was hot af. What's even the point?!

 

What are you working on?

I just wrote an infomercial type sketch about helping straight dudes take better dick pics. We did as much filming for that sketch as we could without breaking any social distancing rules. I've also semi started working on a videocast type thing with another comic.

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine?

Living with all straight dudes. I love them, but if I have to pretend to care any more about sports or what chicks are hot, I'm gonna die.

 

What’s the best part of quarantine?

I feel like I'm being productive most days, and I've been reaching out to more friends than normal.

 

Your quarantine day:

 9 a.m. I am getting up to pee, then back in bed until I feel guilty about being in bed and force myself up to eat breakfast.

 3 p.m. I am maybe going for a run or doing something physical so I dont feel guilty, which seems to be a running theme of quarantine.

 9 p.m. I am scrolling through Instagram and messaging a bunch of friends, maybe doing Zoom shows or going live with other comics to work on jokes.

 2 a.m. I am watching old “Golden Girls” episodes before I go to sleep.

 

First thing you think of when you wake?

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! What day is it, and when can I do shows again?”

 

Last thing you think before you go to sleep?

“Well I mean, I got some stuff done today, and tomorrow, I'm gonna def start working out more.”

 

Besides screens, how else do you pass the time?

Have been playing board games with roommates. A few days ago, I folded all my clothes in my room and redecorated, so I mean there’s that.

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

Tell jokes to a live audience! And then sleep with a cute dude.

 

Any online shows to promote during quarantine?

I'm in a sketch on Kevin Hart’s LOL network called “Training Day.” You can follow me on IG @AkeemWoods. Also on my page, if you click the lil merchandise button, you can buy my cute t-shirts.

 

JEN KOBER

Where are you quarantining?

The City of Angels.

 

Are you an essential worker?

Not even close.

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in quarantine?

I talk to the dog — a LOT — and I've been watching lots of Disney movies. So now when I talk to her, I am convinced she is going to talk back.

 

Any entertainment you would recommend?

Watching: Transparent

Reading: Judy Blume books from when I was a kid.  This week is “Blubber.”

Following: Leslie Jordan on IG and JLo on TikTok

 

Anything you wouldn’t recommend?

Watching: “Tiger King.” I'm a hick from Looziana, so all the hype was lost on me. Replace those tigers with gators, and that's like every guy I went to high school with.

Reading: The newspaper.  What a depressing pamphlet that has become.

Following: Trump. He's a moron, but I have to see it.

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine?

The not touching people part. Touch is my love language, and I would literally kill for a hug. The first person I get to hug is liable to get a big ole kiss too. With tongue. I've been alone too long!

 

What’s the best part of quarantine?

The not touching people part.  LOL I love being able to focus so completely on my own self-care and not have to deal with other people. I've lost 16 pounds while in lockdown. So apparently what was making me fat was all of you.

 

Your quarantine day:

9 a.m. I am knee-deep in news, drinking a giant glass of water and about to take the dog for a walk.

3 p.m. I am finishing my lunch and getting ready for my afternoon nap.

9 p.m. I am laying on the couch deep into whatever show I am binge watching

2 a.m. I am lying in bed contemplating if I'm gonna get up and get Kool-Aid and a snack or just fall asleep.

 

Besides screens, what else are you doing to pass the time?

I got a Wonder Woman coloring book, and I've been coloring a lot. And baking!  

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

Get on a plane and go home to New Orleans for some good food and great friends.

 

Anything you’d like to promote?

I'm finishing up a re-write on my screenplay and continuing to work on other writing projects. I'm also producing my own online stand-up show called “Stories For My Dog.”  

The show happens every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST, and folks can get details and tickets at JenKober.com. Can also find me on Facebook, as well as Twitter and IG : @JenKober.

 

IAN ABER

Where you are quarantining?

Atlanta, with my husband and three dogs.

 

Are you an essential worker?

Not even close.

 

How does your sense of humor manifest itself in self-quarantine?

I try to keep writing, and I make up little songs like: 

Quarantine

Quarantine

Quarantine

I'm beggin' of you, please stay six feet from my man

 

What are you watching / reading / following that you would recommend?

I am watching old episodes of "The Young and The Restless" from the '80s and all of the facebook cooking videos that have no measurements and banjo music in the background and are endlessly complicated.  Not reading but listening to Audible and really enjoyed  Guy Branum’s “My Life As A Goddess” and John Water’s “Mr Know-It-All” and following the amazing Leslie Jordan on Instagram and Leslie Jones on Twitter as she live tweets "Drag Race."

 

Anything that you wouldn’t recommend?

"The Bachelor : Listen To Your Heart. " Usually down for "The Bachelor" clownery, but this show is filled with a bunch of barn owls who can’t sing and certainly can’t date.  Too many messy straight people = too much like real life.

 

What are you working on while in quarantine?

Recording season 4 of my podcast "str8 ppl," and my microwave nacho game has never been more on point.  

 

What’s the worst part of quarantine? 

 I miss laughter of a full room of people and not having to worry if there are particulates in that laughter that are infectious and potentially going to infect you and everyone you love.

 

What’s the best part of quarantine?

I have never had this much time off since I was 16 years old. I have always worked or gone to school and this the first time where I’ve had nowhere to go and also, no pants for 33 days has been rather liberating.

 

Your quarantine day:

9 a.m. I am putting too much sugar in my coffee

3 p.m. I am talking my husband into smoking some pot

9 p.m. I am trying to find something to watch after dinner

2 p.m. I am checking the kitchen to make sure the food is still there

 

First thing you think of when you awaken?

Damn, still in the Matrix

 

Last thing you think before you go to sleep?

Jeffrey Eppstein didn’t kill himself

 

Besides screens, what else are you doing to pass the time?

I make microwave potato chips.  You got to have a mandolin slicer or food processor to get the potatoes sliced thin enough and you can one make like 6 chips at a time but in an hour or two, you got a decent snack

 

First thing you are going to do once all this is over?

French kiss strangers

 

Any comedy to promote?

My podcast "str8 ppl" is  30-minute, one-on-one interviews with folks about sexuality, always with a deeper and hilarious discussion on straightness as an identity rather than an overwhelming reality. Catch him and two dozen other LGBTQ comicsin the international Queer Instagram Comedy Festival on April 26, 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. EDT.