LOS ANGELES -- The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed major Hollywood productions and has shuttered movie theaters for an indeterminate amount of time. This has spurred established entertainers into new ways of funneling their creative energies while stuck at home.
Some have made it their mission to spread good news and cheer amid the pandemic. Others have skewered the latest news happenings while sitting by literal fires on their patios. Their approach is unconventional, but these A-listers still deserve an A+ for their COVID-19 entertainment efforts.
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Best-known for his slightly sardonic take on Jim Halpert from “The Office,” John Krasinski is trying to boost people’s pandemic moods and spirits with his new YouTube series “Some Good News.”
With a crayon-colored SGN logo hanging behind him, Krasinski reviews some of the good news that’s been bubbling up between the negative headlines dominating the pandemic news cycle. He’s only released one episode so far, but it featured a very special guest and former co-star of Krasinski’s. We won’t spoil it, but let’s just say the guest’s name rhymes with Shmeeve Shmarell.
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
In 2017, Nanjiani and Gordon brought their real-life story of love, stand-up comedy and debilitating illness to the silver screen in “The Big Sick.” Now, the married couple and writers have started “Staying In with Emily and Kumail,” a new podcast that provides advice and entertainment while easing the ears of listeners in current pandemic times.
The podcast’s description highlights the couple’s extensive experience in work-at-home environments, as well as Emily’s former career as a therapist and current role as a “chronically sick person.” Topics discussed in episodes can range from entertainment recommendations to “constant updates on the squirrel vs. bird war happening right outside our window.”
Stay-at-home orders and city shutdowns have made it impossible to conduct conventional talk show tapings. Instead of throwing in the towel, Trevor Noah’s Daily Show on Comedy Central has been briefly re-branded as the “Daily Social Distancing Show.”
Noah still manages to humorously skewer the latest news developments while remotely filming his YouTube episodes. And he’s managed to nab a few high-profile interviews with some leading coronavirus taskmakers, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
While Noah’s social distancing satires primarily tape him in one setting, Stephen Colbert has expanded his isolated comedic stylings to all corners of his home.
Special episodes of the “Late Show” on YouTube have featured Colbert in a bubble bath and poking at some recent election developments while holding an actual fire poker. John Oliver, one of Colbert’s ole chaps from his “Daily Show” years even dropped by, noting that the pandemic will be over when people are finally able to rub their hands on each other’s faces again.
Even before quarantine times, half-naked interpretive cowboy dancing on skateboard half pipes was an underappreciated art form. Comedy maestro Jack Black resurged on TikTok amid the shutdown, posting his first video on the social app on March 30.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.