Alice O'Brien

Alice O'Brien

Why You Should Avoid Pandemic Jokes Like the Plague

Every month we invite our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. Inspired by the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown this month’s theme is ‘Back to Live’, for any comedians planning on some pandemic puns, Alice O’Brien has some advice for you…

Like most of you, I am excited to return to the stage. It will be wonderful to no longer hear computerised static laughter that just doesn’t sound genuine, or to worry if your internet will freeze up just before a punchline, or, worse, have a cat filter stuck on. Yet, as we gear up to enter those wonderful windowless basements once more, we need to make something clear, no one wants to hear your pandemic jokes. This is because every pandemic joke has been done, and in some cases, done well. Just before you @ me, let me make my case. 

TikTok. 

Case closed.  

TikToks have thrived on their relatability and snappiness, so when everyone is stuck at home, with nothing better to do, the millions of users have the chance to make every pandemic joke ever. Honestly, if you think you have a joke, please just search it on TikTok and you’ll see there are a thousand different versions of it. 

Now obviously, not everyone uses TikTok, or watches far too many compilations of them on Youtube… But even knowing this, you still shouldn’t make pandemic jokes, because you’ve also used them all up on your weekly Zoom quiz! If you haven’t been keeping up with the mandatory Zoom quizzes, then let me inform you that all your friends and family have heard that pandemic joke too, because they’ve thought it up themselves or had it bleated at them from two metres away by their neighbour. 

So, with this I think we’ve established that all the pandemic jokes have been done, and been told to everyone close to you. Of course, you may think you have a different angle and could tell the joke in a way that’s different, ground-breaking and hilarious. Unfortunately, Red Nose Day just did that, and they did it with ‘celebrities’. 

I know you’re angry with me, my friend who just wrote a whole Edinburgh show about the pandemic, is furious with me. However, I see this as an opportunity to think outside the box, dig into your creativity and explore what other ideas or issues you can make funny. I accept that this is a very big challenge, we haven’t really had the chance to experience anything else, so I can understand that this arbitrary rule may seem unfair. But would you rather be the fifth comic of the evening who comments on how boring the lockdown was, or do you want to be the one who does something better?

This could be a chance to stretch your political commentary legs, tell us that embarrassing childhood story you have been repressing, or talk about that messy evening when you got off with your housemate. There are so many avenues you can take, and it doesn’t exactly have to be the truth. It is our job to entertain, so we can stretch, fib, or completely make-up stories as long as it makes people laugh. 

So, get your notepads ready, and let’s tell some new jokes!

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