Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Stand-up recruits neighbors to film socially-distanced special in his apartment complex's courtyard

Illustration for article titled Stand-up recruits neighbors to film socially-distanced special in his apartment complexs courtyard
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

The pandemic’s hit the entertainment industry hard, leaving actors, musicians, and comedians few stages to flex their craft. Given how interpersonal stand-up comedy generally is, it’s presented a uniquely difficult situation—one that’s resulted in some pretty creative ways to reach new people and provide relief from reality’s daily nightmares.

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Take Nick Skardarasy, for example, a comedian based in L.A. who managed to convince his neighbors to watch him tell some jokes, a tough proposition for any budding comic. The result was Thin Walls: An Evening With My Neighbors, a 30-minute set from Skardarasy in his apartment courtyard for nearby tenants and passersby. Interspersed throughout Skardarasy’s set are quick, fun chats with various neighbors about how their lives have been impacted by the pandemic, and what they’ve done with all their newfound free time.

Check out the special below:

“It’s been really difficult and really inspiring. I know there were jokes about how millennials were really starting to get their foothold in life before the pandemic hit and I think the same can be said for a lot of comedians on a smaller scale,” Skardarasy told The A.V. Club in an email. “A lot of us really were in the midst of that next step so to take that away has been really hard for the community as a whole. However, there has been this really cool surge of drive-in, outdoor, and Zoom shows that have kept the art form alive and kicking. To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, ‘Comedy, uh, finds a way.’”

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The experience also seems to have helped build a sense of community when people need it the most. “I knew some of my neighbors before, but not to this extent,” he writes. “I have never really experienced anything like this but I also don’t think it’s necessarily unique to us. If anything, you should talk to your neighbor! You’ll be better off for it.”

Wise words for turbulent times. Just stick to a “Hey, how are you doing? Some weather we’ve been having?” or something similar. Don’t try any new material on your own neighbors, unless your set is as as polished as Skadarasy’s.

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).

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