No laughing matter: how comedians are coping with lockdown

More than any other art form, comedians create a feedback loop with their audience. So what happens when it’s impossible to perform to a crowd? Four emerging comedians tell us how they’re coping with Sydney’s lockdown.
Two people against a read and black background

There’s a tried and tested path to refining a comedy show for the Australian festival circuit. It goes something like this: get up night after night in the clubs and small comedy nights, taking cues from the laughs gained on which jokes to keep, scrap or refine. The audience is the comedian’s unwitting but merciless editor, effectively working with them to road-test material until it’s festival ready.

But COVID-enforced lockdowns have disrupted this process.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Daniel Herborn is a journalist and novelist based in Sydney. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and others. He has also practised law at an Intellectual Property firm specialising in creative industries clients.