• Pandemic: What’s Making You Smile & Laugh?

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in CoronaVirus     Comments 45 comments

    Discussion questions: We asked a few WriteByNighters what’s making them smile and laugh while under stay-at-home orders. Their answers, with relevant links, are below. What’s making you smile and laugh these days? Let us know in the comments, and include links to any videos or articles you mention.


    While we’re cooped up inside, watching grim numbers climb higher and higher, gloom covers us like a blanket. We have a choice: pull it up around our shoulders and let it overtake us, or do our best to slough it off and find reasons to keep smiling and laughing.

    In case you’re interested in the latter, and I hope you are, we asked a group of WriteByNighters what is making them smile and laugh during this bizarre and difficult time. Their answers are below, with links to whatever videos or reading material they reference.

    We’d love to hear from you, too: What is making you smile and laugh? Let us know in the comments.


    Mainly memes and videos. The physical distancing directive from Leon County struck my funny bone as a Floridian. I also follow Randy Rainbow’s YouTube channel and adore his parodies. There’s much else, but those are two examples.

    — Elissa Malcohn


    I sent this to my mom, who said something about people in New Orleans being good at making lemonade out of lemons. This is making me smile and laugh.

    — Tom Andes, WBN coach & consultant


    The Oh, Hello podcast is great so far — it just got started, but if you’re into those characters then it’s right up your alley. I also really love Two Old Queens, a podcast where two comedians talk to their friends (usually other comedians) and try to find the gayest movie of all time using a byzantine scoring system. So funny and complicated, Mark and John have impressive film knowledge and are hilarious at the same time.

    Aaron Block, Yak Babies host


    I’ve loved videos of sports commentators commenting on everyday life, since there’s no sports at the moment. I recommend these two tweets from broadcaster Andrew Cotter:

    — Adriana Cloud, WBN coach/consultant


    The birds who come to my bird feeders all day long — the sparrows are frenzied with spring time, pushing each other out of the way, flying off in little flocks, fighting amongst each other for food and mating rights. Oblivious to our human woes. The goldfinches are molting their winter feathers and I’m waiting to see them transform from black to gold. The grackles patrol through the grass looking for fallen seed and worms, and I have more time to observe them. The greater quiet is palpable and soothing even though I know what it signifies. I laugh where I can, I guess, sometimes at the darkness we’re witnessing, because this seems like one way to process it and witness it and to keep from crying over it at great lengths.

    — Cecily Sailer, WBN coach/consultant


    I’ve gotten hooked on watching the late-night hosts do shows from their homes. Conan, Colbert, Trevor Noah. The funny thing is, I never watch these shows when they’re on TV. A few nights ago, Conan and Colbert did a twenty-minute… thing. It was fun. It’s stuff like this, humor in fifteen-minute flashes, that’s helping me stay sane.

    — Joanne Walters


    I smile in admiration for those persons in my circle of writers who are persevering in their work with determined courage. At the lock-down’s onset, our group immediately began asking how we could continue our critique work online (via Internet). I setup a framework for doing that using Dropbox as a platform. So our work is continuing, though at a reduced level and slower pace. The Dropbox work shows me that our writers, despite challenging conditions, are continuing their projects.

    Recognizing the importance of this time (the curse of “interesting times”), some of us have taken to journaling or otherwise writing about it. Dr. Kasie, for instance, aired a segment on her radio program describing the types of stories you find written about COVID-19, especially on the Internet. And Danielle is keeping a VLOG about being shut-in with young children. I am making some notes in a private journal, but until now, haven’t been able to muster the morale to do such work for public consumption.

    I am most happy that my own family is together and well. Icing on that cake is my writing family also being healthy and working.

    Ray Foy


    The only thing that makes us laugh is cat videos and one with a turtle.

    David Lemke


    There are some TV shows that I think are funny: Bob ♥ Abishola, Avenue 5, Vagrant Queen. My wife dislikes the Sci-Fi ones.

    — Jerry Schwartz


    Thank you for reading and contributing. We hope you’re staying healthy and staying safe.

    This post is part of a series collecting the experiences of WriteByNighters during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are links to the rest of these discussion posts:

    What is making you cry (sad and/or happy)

    What is giving you hope and encouragement

    What are you reading?

    What are you writing?

    How are you writing?

    General discussion


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2020 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. If you have a manuscript that’s ready for some editorial care, check out our various critiquing, editorial, and proofing servicesJoin our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    Joe Giordano

    If you could use a chuckle, try the comedy routine of Ismo, a Finn struggling with English.
    Find it here:


    Ha ha! That was delightful!! Thank you!

    Jennifer Pommer

    I watched the comedy, ‘Johnny English’ (Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr Bean) and I got the wonderful belly ache that comes from laughing deeply and a lot. There is a Johnny English II, but I haven’t it yet. It will probably prove as funny.

    Jennifer Pommer

    I think laughter does work as a tension buster most times but sometimes I find I need to get into the pain/the source of the tension or if I’ve used laughter too much as a tension breaker. Then, I watch or read something serious to help make sense or puts my seemingly giant anthills into perspective. I just remembered when I need a visual laugh I look at the cartoons of Gary Larson. He’s a gentle smile builder.

    Torria Stevens

    Love T Far Side – OMG! I’d be rolling on the floor busting some stitches from my skin-seams Used to buy the books! Where deh at?


    For laughs I’m sticking with my man Conan. The Greenland video in which Conan goes there and tries to buy the country is a masterpiece. Conan’s social distancing PSA is great.
    Parts of Conan visits the American Girl Store and Conan gets styled by Dapper Dan had me laughing so hard I thought I ripped something apart. Here are some links, although the first one is not Conan but is a cute video that makes you smile and is extremely awwwwww inducing.


    I did, but I may have chosen the wrong one–it was Conan interviewing Ellen Degeneres, and listening to them just talking I realized that both of them employ a lot of sometimes subtle facial expressions in their humor, and I missed that too much. They’re definitely tv people, not like Bob Eucker, for example, who was perfect for radio. I DO take long whats in the what. It’s just weird making wide circles around everyone.


    Oh, I just lost the spelling bee and possibly my right to live here. I misspelled Uecker, didn’t I? Blame it on old age. I was confusing him with my Eureka vacuum cleaner, or is it vacuem?


    If you build it he will come.

    In the meantime, you may enjoy this footage of Uecker being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He really is a very funny man and perfect deadpan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7dG5HCKeWA There was a shot of Robin Yount in the audience. Once when I was walking out of Sally’s restaurant I walked into, literally, Rolly Fingers. I mean I actually bumped him. He was with Sal Bando and Paul Molitor. I was surprised at how large all three of them were.


    A delightful way to spend lockdown!!


    Dad in the bathtub in his hood, that was enough laughtermedicine for me for the day. Thank you for that!

    Silke Chambers



    You ask what is making me laugh? I suppose I have to laugh. However… IF I want to take a walk through the Biltmore gardens; I can save money on gas and parking fees now.With a few clicks on my computer, I can be anywhere pretty much. For free. There are some funny things to laugh about in all this. I now have access to millions of free books online for two months. Free subscriptions to the NY times and many other FREE things. Virtual trips to museums anywhere in the world where there are virtual museums, and I can… Read more »

    stephen Glick

    Sorry thus far all inappropriate I will think of it for a bit.

    david lemke

    Make me laugh?
    Cat videos. Also the antics of our own two cats. sometimes I laugh at stuff that Trump says or that stupid people do, but it’s not a nice or a happy laugh.

    david lemke
    Silke Chambers

    For fellow writers, a series called “800 Words” is a great binge watch. Available on acorn.tv


    I find that my dreams have gone from interesting to something like messages from another sphere. They say that writers should keep a notebook by their bed, jot down the scenes from the dream and read in the morning. I would occasionally do this, but lately the writing occurs several times each night. I feel that the knowledge in our brains has been on mute and now we must listen, so that the spark of ideas will illuminate the world.
    Take care and stay well David.


    I really am enjoying the dreams…high octane fuel for my writing. The authentic “WriteByNight” experience.

    Denise White

    I’m keeping busy baking and using bake goods as bribery to keep my 98 year neighbor from going out. She loves sweets and I told her if she goes out again she’s cut off! Yes she still drives, just got pulled over for speeding about a month ago.


    That is so nice of you. She speeds at 98! I love it.

    Torria Stevens

    That’s nice of you Denise; what types of baked goods/sweets do you make? Sure wish zucchini squash was in season, I like making zuchhini (my spelling sucks) bread myself.

    Denise White

    I make her breakfast muffins that she likes with her coffee in the mornings, bacon egg and cheese and sausage egg and cheese. Chocolate chip muffins and she will have me get her extra bananas so they get extra ripe then have me make her banana nut muffins ?.

    Denise White


    Torria Stevens

    What a sweetheart!; and Yummy!


    This might sound dumb, but I discovered Laurel and Hardy. I was aware of them as something my elderly uncle enjoyed when I was small (i dont mean the Steve Martin definition of ‘small’, btw). Slapstick never appealed to me (I can’t stand the 3 Stooges. Sorry), but I’ve been watching their shorts online. It’s ridiculous in an innocent way. Maybe because they are not mean-spirited like most comedy is nowadays? The one where Stan is trying to wash dishes…OMG!

    Torria Stevens

    Love that music vid! Okay, Okay, what makes me smile, laugh? how ’bout listening to Trevor Noah’s Daily Distancing Show on Podcast – what a blast! Love comedy, so I’ve been looking at some new faces (on YT) of comedy to get a taste of their talent/s.

    Cheryl Guillot Jones

    Please join in a laugh on me this week. My Grammarly report was nothing but zeros as my laptop was ill. I am not a particularly tech-savvy person. I have never looked inside a computer. Yesterday I received the part (a replacement fan). Taking all the screws out of the back cover made me sweat. I replaced the fan (three screws and a power connector) and the laptop no longer sounds like a diesel truck. After my children stopped laughing at the video, they did concede I was brave. If it were not for our situation, Geek Squad could have… Read more »

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