Lisa Geduldig has been producing and performing comedy in the Bay Area for 28 years. When the pandemic struck and she traveled to Florida to visit with her 89-year-old mother, she decided to continue producing comedy from the comfort of her mother’s home, aided by a delightful twist: Her mother, a comedy amateur, performs stand-up too.
“She’s just funny,” Geduldig said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “So I said to her in July, I’m doing this show from your house and it’s online and why not perform? I thought it was maybe going to be a one-time thing, but she’s been loving it and she’s been doing it every month.”
Geduldig has been helping her mother refine her writing process, sharing tips with her mother from her experience in the business. “She was taking notes on post-its and then I gave her a notebook for her to start writing notes,” Geduldig said. “She’s kind of had an idea and winged it a little bit. I thought last month’s performance of hers was the best that we’ve had because she worked on it and had some idea of how to present the joke, and the fact that you need to have a punchline.”
Comedy in an all-digital age requires a certain degree of planning and adaptability. “Well, you know when you’re performing on screen, you don’t have so much of the interaction with people,” Geduldig said. “And it depends on who’s running the show, whether they have everyone muted. We’re trying to figure out the right formula, to have enough people unmuted so the comics can experience a reaction.”
An unforeseen beauty of Zoom, Geduldig added, is that “Everyone’s got a front-row seat. Whether or not I’ve been performing or watching a show, you know you’re right there in front of the action.”
Geduldig argued that in the midst of a pandemic, comics can’t ignore the reality of the world around them. “I think people are tailoring their comedy material somewhat to what’s happening now,” Geduldig said. ”It’s the elephant in the room, you can’t not talk about it. You’re performing on a computer or a device and everyone is little squares, or you know, wearing masks — you have to talk about it. Life is totally changed.”
Geduldig’s lineup for her next show is star-studded and delightfully diverse. It features Jackie Hoffman, a performer out of New York, Elvira Kurt, a prominent comedian in the gay and lesbian community based out of Toronto and Bernadette Luckett, a San Francisco comedian who’s written for several sitcoms.
Online performances do have added advantages when organizing a comedy show, Geduldig pointed out. “I try and have a mix of ages and backgrounds and cultures. The amazing thing is, you can get anyone from anywhere in the world. I wanna see what people are doing elsewhere and if they’re up for performing at two or three in the morning and if they’re up for international representation.”
These advantages also extend to the comics themselves, who are now able to participate in shows all across the world. “There’s comedians doing more than one show a night — no travel, no moving,” Geduldig said. “It makes me think about when we go back to in person performances, that I’d like to continue to have online aspects like livestreaming to include audiences from all over the country and the rest of the world.”
The ease of connectivity in online performances has created avenues for rekindling and activity sharing like never before. “I’ve got family and friends that have always wanted to come to Kung Pao Kosher Comedy and they couldn’t, and you know they did this year!” Geduldig said. “And then there’s the breakout room concept. We’ve had a couple of people getting together with groups in breakout rooms and that’s just really nice for them to have some time to hang out with family and friends before the show. So people feel connected, you know?”
Geduldig’s background and experience in comedy, coupled with her foresight in planning for a Zoom-forward world are both exciting and promising for her already successful and LA Times-approved Lockdown Comedy show. And of course, having a little help from your mom never hurts.
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy’s “Lockdown Comedy” show is live every month. Tickets are available here.
Contact Megha Ganapathy at [email protected].