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Writing comedy under lockdown

Like Dorothy Parker, I hate writing. I love having written. Of course you can’t achieve the latter state without the former, but under the five weeks of lockdown I’m now approaching the end of here in New Zealand, it’s been nearly impossible to write anything.

Whether it’s short fiction, a couple of bits for my comedy routine, or an article on what New Zealand should look like coming out of the Covid crisis; inspiration will not strike.

I’ve no doubt some lucky people will emerge from this period like a butterfly from a chrysalis, but the reality for many of us is more like the Hungry Caterpillar marching round our houses looking for more to eat.

Sure for me, part of it is the intensity of my day job during this period (believe it or not many employers indulge in disaster capitalism in order to exploit their employees even more than usual), but that’s not all of it. The fact is I have a lot more time sitting around the house doing nothing than I usually do, and few domestic distractions other than my partner’s cooking, and a cupboard full of alcohol. I mean we’re not even doing the housework or gardening as much as we should.

Instead I’ve retreated to a childish state of DIY design and websites, music making, and podcast ideas, rather than knuckling down and writing actual content of either the science fictional or comedy theme.

I know I’m not the only one and those who have used this time productively will reap the benefits later, especially in a world starved of live action TV and films, theatre, and music and comedy gigs.

Of course the silent blocked majority of creatives shouldn’t feel guilty about this – living through a global disaster is not normal for most of us in the ‘developed world’, and so we shouldn’t expect to behave normally during this period.

Still I’ve spent the twenty minutes it’s taken to write this trying to think of a funny joke to end on. And I can’t. I do however have a sitcom idea – you interested in helping me brainstorm it? If so use the contact form linked above.

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