- Garrett Williams is a comedian in Chicago who lives with four other comedians.
- As friends fled the city, they decided to remain together in their house — and they’ve become like family.
- They’ve also taken their comedy to the internet, creating a viral video that has been retweeted over 86,000 times.
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Five roommates, trapped in one house, for 8-15 weeks. Every time you step outside, you are taking your life in your hands. It sounds like the premise of a very bleak Big Brother spin off — but alas, it has been my reality for the past five weeks.
If I could recommend getting quarantined with one type of person, it’s a Chicago comedian. We roll with the punches, are constantly making each other laugh, and, since we usually aren’t paid when we perform, we don’t expect anything in return. Sounds like the goddamn dream, right?
So getting to quarantine with four of these people who happen to be some of my dearest friends in the world? Looks like my birthday wish from last year of “have a captive audience for a couple months” actually came true.
When all of this started, many of our friends fled the city in order to go back home — but all five of us decided to stay. Since isolation started, we have become our own little family unit.
Everyone cleans up around the house, we play board games all together, and sometimes, when we are worried that everyone else has had enough of our s—, one of us will make dinner for everyone. Personally, I know the meals I make for my roommates act as a form of payment that allows me to sing as loud as I want in the shower for another week.
Day to day life in our little family looks a lot different than from what it used to be.
Instead of making small talk with coworkers in the kitchen, I’m making an egg sandwich at 10 AM before standing around for a couple hours and talking about our feelings. Instead of going to the gym after work, I’ve been opening a can of whoop a– in the living room with Sarah’s 30-minute kickboxing classes on Title Boxing on-demand. Instead of spending weekends laying in the park, I’m spending them laying on our neighbor’s roof (but they don’t know so please don’t tell them). Overall, it’s been a big day to day adjustment, but, just like ducks, I’m keeping my cool on the outside, frantically kicking on the inside, and eating a lot of bread.
Much like the great stages of Broadway, the bars of Chicago comedy have also gone dark. But we are persisting in completing the duty no one asked for: making people laugh.
Instead of doing comedy shows all across the city, the stage has become a lot cozier and looks a lot more like the living room, with some special performances in the kitchen, dining room, and, on rare occasions, the bathroom. The one constant between the comedy scene P.C. (pre-covid) and the comedy scene Q.E. (quarantine-era) seems to be audience size for a weeknight show — which ranges from four people to absolutely no one.
But, just because the stages are shut down for the time being, that doesn’t mean that comedians aren’t going to still try and make people laugh. It just means they are positioning it to a much different audience: the internet.
One thing I can say about Chicago comedians is they love to be constantly on the go, and boy do they love a project. So, when you trap five of them in a house and take away their ability to go outside, they start making projects.
Which brings me to the reason that I got to write this article in the first place: the viral video.
—Garrett Williams (@badboygargar) March 30, 2020
Who knew that throwing on a bunch of monochromatic outfits and slightly bouncing to Iceland’s entry to the Eurovision song contest was going to be what people wanted to see in lockdown? I guess so — or at least it’s something that P!nk really enjoyed. And she has always been my target demographic.
When we put it together, we were just wanting to share the buffoonery that was going on when we discovered the song, but I’m really glad that it also seems to have brought a bunch of other people joy.
With the world in such flux right now, everyone’s gotta do their job, and if the job comedians have is to stay at home and make stupid internet videos to take people’s minds off the stress of a global pandemic, then I’m happy to do it.