LOS ANGELES – They say laughter is the best medicine, right? Well, comedian Ben Gleib says we need a lot of laughter right now. Due to coronavirus, his country-wide tour dates have been canceled. His income stopped in an instant.
“I know laughs will get us through. It’s all we have left to enjoy,” said Gleib.
Gleib is setting up his home studio for his new online comedy show: The Social Distancing Social Club. With comedy clubs being one of the many businesses closed during the coronavirus outbreak, he realized comedians still needed a way to practice their craft and of course make some money.
“This is such a scary time. None of us know how long we will be locked down. How long the economy will take a hit for and all our individual incomes. This is a way to all gather together and just feel like there is still some fun in our society, still laugh a bit,” said Gleib.
So, along with his friend Steve Hofstetter, Gleib figured out a way to re-create the live audience experience, but all through a phone or computer.
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“Our careers are built on needing an audience to test jokes and get paid, so this is a way to have an audience without being in front of an audience,” said Gleib.
Most days of the week, he co-hosts the live show with different comedians and celeb guests joining in. Thousands watch through YouTube or Facebook. It is free admission, but you can tip the performers to help them during this tough time.
“It is really unsettling to not know where our next paycheck is going to come from, so we are trying to create a way to make up for that. Many of us rely on every next gig to be able to pay our bills and so this is way to make money,” said Gleib.
The standup comedian hopes to give people a little light to viewers during this darkness, but his cohost Hofstetter was surprised how therapeutic this was for himself and his fellow performers.
“What I didn’t realize was how valuable this would be for me personally, because every night I get to hang out with my friends. I feel a little less isolated and I get to be part of a community,” said Hofstetter.
A sense of community is what The Social Distancing Social Club strives to accomplish from the comfort of their own homes.
As Gleib signs off for the night, he shares his sincere appreciation, “Thank you all for being here. Thank you for being part of the Social Distancing Social Club, isolation nation. We couldn’t do it without you. Please tune in and don’t breathe on us.”
With a little bit of sarcasm to keep you laughing till next time.
The Socially Distant Social Club performs every day, except for Monday and Thursday, at 5 p.m. Click here to find out how to watch.