In times of crisis, we all hope that we would be able to remain calm instead of the more common response of widespread panic. But comedian Atsuko Okatsuka took things to the next level during the recent California earthquake at The Ice House in Pasadena, as a stressful situation (performing stand-up) became intensified by another stressful situation (7.1 earthquake).
Not only does Okatsuka remain calm onstage, somehow she’s quick enough to make jokes about the earthquake while it’s still going on (“I thought I was making that happen”). She asks the crowd if they know the proper emergency procedures, shrugging, “I went to art school.” Meanwhile she’s looking out for the house manager and asking the audience if they’re all okay.
At one point, the crowd starts clapping, realizing that Okatsuka is somehow pulling off an improvised earthquake set. She encourages, “Keep it going for the faultline near us!” She even incorporates a joke about her husband mistaking the previous day’s earthquake for her masturbating: “6.6. magnitude? I will take that as a compliment,” as well as making fun of her own dancing intro: “Stop it! You’re making the earth move!” It’s an impressive level of comedic grace under pressure most of us panicking people could only dream of.