PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: Comedian Dave Helem performs during Live From Tribeca Drive-in: Stand up, presented by Tribeca Enterprises and Comedy Dynamics, in partnership with AT&T, IMAX and Walmart at the Rose Bowl on July 09, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Tribeca Enterprises)

Drive-In Comedy Clubs Are the New Standard For Stand-Up During Coronavirus, Hecklers Likely to Just Use Their Horns

A lot of things have been canceled because of coronavirus, but laughter isn’t one of them. While comedy clubs have been subject to the same shutdowns as restaurants and movie theaters, comics are getting inventive about how to deliver their jokes without putting anyone at risk. So far, that’s meant drive-in stand-up sets, in which parking lots become clubs, the beds of pick-up trucks substitute as stages, and horns replace applause. (Comedians with bigger budgets get screens.)

The experience isn’t exactly the same, though, because the performer can’t hear how their jokes are landing with the audience. As comedian Michael Longfellow told Mel magazine, “You don’t know if you’re killing; you don’t know if you’re bombing. After 15 minutes, it’s almost sociopathic the way you have to just bowl through it, and keep doing your act as if everyone’s loving it.”

Despite celebrity comedians like Dave Chapelle saying drive-in comedy “didn’t sound like any fun at all,” the new trend seems to be catching on. Jim Gaffigan did a drive-thru comedy show at Monmouth Park in New Jersey last month. Bert Kreischer did a four-stop drive-in movie theater tour, complete with a bus and crew (who all got tested for COVID-19 before and after hitting the road).

One thing we bet comedians don’t miss from their pre-corona sets: hecklers. Unless someone’s hanging out their car window or has a voice that carries, those nasty comments are going to fall on deaf ears. Maybe this drive-in scenario isn’t so bad after all…

Cover Photo: Kevin Winter / Staff (Getty Images)

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