COVID-19: humor in front of a distant audience

For comedians, it is not easy to perform in front of a masked and distanced audience, which makes the laughter less noticeable. Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais, Rosalie Vaillancourt and Mario Jean experienced it for the first time this week as they made a comeback on stage in the orange zones after several months of absence.

The last time the performance halls were open, last fall, the wearing of the procedural mask was not compulsory during the shows, but only to circulate inside the hall.

If it does not change anything for a singer, a musician or circus artists to perform in front of a masked audience, the situation is different for a comedian.

For Rosalie Vaillancourt, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), performing in front of a masked audience is a real challenge.

Even if she said she was “really happy” to resume the tour, with the masks “it’s really difficult to concentrate, she says on the other end of the phone. It was tough for me it feels so weird not seeing people’s faces. And the masks cut off the sound. But I went to a room where everyone had black masks, which made it less disturbing for the eyes. ”

“But I don’t think it’s the masks, the worst thing is it’s a quarter full. Being in front of 200 people instead of 1500, that sounds empty, ”explains the one who presented her show. Child king in theaters of the Côte-Nord last weekend.

Very different!

Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais, he was not aware of the new measure concerning the compulsory mask before going on stage last Friday, in Rivière-du-Loup, for the running-in of his first “one-man show” .

“I took the leap,” he laughed. You have to adapt, but it went well. What is very different is to see people also isolated from each other ”.

Mario Jean agrees. This week he gave three performances of his show Go forward at the Salle Desjardins-Telus in Rimouski, which initially was only one performance. Tickets sold for a normally full hall were spread over three evenings so that all tickets could be honored.

“The space between people is perhaps the worst,” he concedes. But for the mask, we learned, even in everyday life, to compensate with our eyes, our gestures. Yesterday [mercredi], I saw a gentleman laughing with his shoulders. We can feel it all the same. Me, that didn’t bother me. ”

Despite everything, all agree to say that they prefer a masked public in face to a public absent in virtual.

“I felt that people were really excited to be there,” says Mario Jean. Even the people who were talking, I could hear them and interact with them others. You have to have an interaction. In humor, you have no choice. It takes a laugh to punctuate a show. Everything is written according to the laughter. When you can’t hear where people are laughing, it’s impossible to do. “

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