Winston Hodges at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA. Photo credit: Kyra Traaseth

Comedians perform before live audiences to earn a living and to hone their craft. For many, the coronavirus eliminated — overnight — their ability to do either.

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Winston Hodges is a comic based in Richmond, VA. This past January, his prospects for 2020 were bright: He regularly hosted for a nationally franchised comedy production company, Don’t Tell Comedy, and he was booked on shows at the Washington, DC, Improv Comedy Club. It seemed likely he would audition for the Just for Laughs comedy festival, an event where many comics finally break into the upper tiers of the industry. 

“I felt like I was pretty far along for having done comedy for five years,” Hodges told WhoWhatWhy. “I was building up all this momentum.”

The end of March marked the the fifth anniversary of Hodges’s first time performing comedy. He had been planning to celebrate by recording a stand-up album with a live audience; instead, he said, “I spent it in quarantine.” 

By April, the up-and-coming comic had lost all his sources of income, including his day job as a teacher, and was living with his mother. 

He is not alone. The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on the economy, and millions have lost their jobs. While most industries are affected, it has hit the hospitality and entertainment businesses particularly hard, as many venues were required to close due to mandated social distancing. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the hospitality and leisure industry fell by 459,000 in March.)

For many comics, who often operate as independent contractors and depend upon bars, breweries, and small theaters for their livelihoods, these closures have been devastating. 

“Stand-up comedy is dead,” Hodges said. “This has killed comedy. In the ‘90s there was a stand-up bust because there was too much comedy, and I think we’re about to have a bust because there are not enough places to do it. I’m very, very worried.” 

To hear these comics discuss their experiences with WhoWhatWhy’s Stephen Calabria, listen to this episode of the Viral News podcast:
Advisory: Explicit Content

Rebecca Trent owns The Creek & The Cave, a comedy club in Long Island City, NY. Before the pandemic, her venue hosted 150 events per month and was a staple of the New York City comedy scene. 

On March 6, Trent was in Texas, optimistically scouting locations for a comedy festival. When she heard that South by Southwest had been canceled in Austin, she immediately texted her colleagues: “What is going to happen in New York?” 

What has happened in New York since then, and what has happened throughout the business of comedy, is a catastrophic decline, which Trent likens to the days of Prohibition. 

“We’ve lost 90 percent of our revenue,” Trent told WhoWhatWhy. “My landlord has been good to me, but they also have to pay their mortgage.” As soon as she recognized the imminent disaster, she began working with her staff to ensure they would receive unemployment benefits. The club has since sent home the majority of its employees and is staying afloat by selling to-go orders through delivery services.

In Virginia, Hodges watched the comedy industry contract in real time as venue after venue closed its doors. He was booked to perform at a March 14 show at the DC Improv and fully expected that his gig would be canceled also.

Instead, Hodges was the last comedian to speak into a microphone before the venue closed the next day by order of the District of Columbia. “We’ll see you all next time,” he said, though no one knows when that “next time” might be. 

The DC Improv has since laid off its employees and shut its doors indefinitely. The owner, Allyson Jaffe, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for her jobless staff. 

“The DC Improv is closed for who knows how long,” she wrote in her plea for donations. “The level of uncertainty is off the charts, and I have no idea if my business will be able to weather this storm.” 

With no clubs in which to perform, most comedians now find themselves not only with no income but also with a greatly reduced ability to develop their craft. 

Though some are still trying to perform live “stand-up comedy” to cameras in their empty bedrooms, as Helen Lewis recently described, performing comedy without an audience is like sitting down at a grand piano to play, “[but] when you press the keys, you hear absolutely nothing.” 

Hodges expects that these hardships, financial and otherwise, will be so crushing for comics that many will leave the profession of stand-up comedy altogether. 

The future is less bleak for established comedians, however. 

Dov Davidoff has worked as a comedian for over 20 years and has a loyal fan base. He has appeared in feature films, the Ray Liotta–Jennifer Lopez series Shades of Blue, and the HBO series Crashing. In 2017 he published a memoir, titled Road Dog, about his early days in stand-up comedy.  

Davidoff is spending much of the shutdown trapped in his New York home with his wife and toddler; he is experimenting with growing his online presence by releasing “vlogs” on Instagram.

Despite his canceled gigs, Davidoff knows he will find work again when venues reopen. He is also finding plenty to joke about in the meantime.  

“I try to use any kind of adversity as productively as I can,” he told WhoWhatWhy. “Calamity and comedy go hand in hand provided you have a bit of space between you and what is going on.”

When the shutdown ends, he hopes “people have more to say and more context and that the comedy comes from that place, which is usually a much more interesting place for comedy or art to come from.

“It’s going to be a catharsis,” Davidoff added. “People are going to have a bunch of stuff to say about how they have been locked up.” Here Davidoff paused and, previewing the sort of jokes we can expect if the current crisis passes, deadpanned, “Either alone or with their partners; there are different kinds of adversity.”

The question now is which comics will persevere long enough to participate in the potential comedy revival.

Hodges recognizes that continuing his career in comedy will be an uphill battle. Even when audiences are ready to watch live comedy again, he explained, “the bigger venues are not going to be open, so all the bigger comics are going to be working in the smaller rooms. Everyone is getting pushed down three levels, and a lot of these clubs are not going to be able to reopen.”

This is the outcome which Trent fears as well. “I had a conversation with a Small Business Administration representative,” she sighed. “They very gently but clearly said to me that I should take this time to reevaluate and create a new business model for myself.”

Davidoff is an experienced comic, and this shutdown will likely represent a minor blip in an otherwise successful career. Hodges, however, estimates that his own goals will be set back by at least five years.

It’s even worse for many others. Comics who were less established than Hodges when the hiatus began will likely be pushed out of the comedy business entirely. Many of them do not have stable day jobs to which to return when businesses reopen. They will be looking for new employment in a job market where unemployment is projected to reach 32 percent.

Hodges, for one, is no stranger to turning hardship into art. When his father died suddenly in 2019, he used stand-up comedy to cope. Now he is using the other forms of comedy still available to him to face the losses caused by the coronavirus shutdown. 

He is working on a new video series, “Taking it Weakly,” where many of his similarly unemployed comedian friends frequently appear. He is most proud of his podcast, the “Dead Dad Comedy Pod,” on which he and his co-host interview guests about the intersection between comedy and grief.  

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Though podcast and video production provide some creative outlet for Hodges, this type of comedy is difficult to monetize for anyone without a substantial internet audience. Before March, most of Hodges’s work and fan base depended on live shows. 

“We’re all playing catchup now,” he said. “There are all these people who already knew how to use the internet … My podcasts are not making money, my YouTube videos are not making money. My uphill journey is, how can I turn this into profit?”

“I miss stand-up more than anything,” Hodges added. “I would much rather not be doing this, even though I am proud of the show I have been doing. It’s not even about the money. I just miss doing it.”

He has recently accepted a 50 percent pay cut to return to his job as a teacher and is biding his time until venues begin to reopen. 

“I can’t wait to come back. I’m going to wear masks in shows, I’ll wear gloves, I’ll bring my own mic to shows … No matter what, when this ends, it’s not going to make me quit,” Hodges said. “This has made me 100 percent determined to not be one of those people who does not make it.” 

Full Text Transcript:

As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to time constraints, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like. Should you spot any errors, we’d be grateful if you would notify us

Stephen Calabri: Hello, and welcome to Viral News. I’m your host, Stephen Calabria. Viral News is a podcast produced and released by, dedicated to the Coronavirus and other news of a viral nature.

  Today’s program features a round table discussion with members of the comedy community, including four comedians and one club owner, to talk about the state of comedy and what the future may hold.

  Rebecca Trent is the owner of The Creek and The Cave Comedy Club in Queens, New York City.

  Liz Miele is a New York City–based standup comedian, and co-host of a podcast called Two Non-Doctors.

  Remy Kassimir is a New York City–based standup comedian and co-host of a podcast called the How Cum Podcast, a show devoted to the female orgasm.

  Winston Hodges is a Virginia-based standup comedian. He’s the host of a podcast called the Dead Dad Comedy Pod and a web series called Taking It Weekly.

  Tony Darrow is a longtime New York City–based standup comedian. He wrote for Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

  For some context for our listeners, I myself have worked in and around the comedy community for years in New York City, so this conversation was something akin to a family dinner. Here’s our talk about the state and future of comedy, and pretty much everything else.

  Remy, you’re out in Oregon, right?

Remy Kassimir: Yep.

Stephen Calabri: I guess you’re staying there for the foreseeable future?

Remy Kassimir: I guess, but also I read that people have been making record time driving across the country, and I’ve wanted to bring this car back anyway.

Liz Miele: Do it.

Tony Darrow: Oh, sure. There’s no traffic, that’s for sure.

Remy Kassimir: Yeah.

Stephen Calabri: You would get back in like a day.

Tony Darrow: Wow.

Remy Kassimir: Yeah. People said 22 hours is what it’s been.

Liz Miele: Whoa.

Tony Darrow: That’s not possible.

Remy Kassimir: Versus like 56.

Tony Darrow: Yeah, there’s no way you’d make it in 22 hours. It’s 3,000 miles.

Liz Miele: Me? I drove my sister from Jersey to LA four years ago and we did it all in the morning, so we would wake up at 3:00 in the morning every day, and we would do 10-hour days. So we would do about you know-

Remy Kassimir: That’s great.

Liz Miele: We kept going. I had really bad food allergies and issues, so I couldn’t have fast food, and everywhere is like New York is now where everything shuts down at 6:00 PM. And you’re like, cool, all I can have is fast food. So we did everything really early and that was the best. There was no traffic, nobody’s at gas stations. It just depends on how long you want to drive in a day.

Remy Kassimir: I feel like I could do a lot. As long as I have a ton of weed and I do, it’s like accessible as fuck here and cheap.

Stephen Calabri: Hey, you’re in Oregon.

Remy Kassimir: [crosstalk] and company.

Liz Miele: You’re driving high.

Stephen Calabri: So you’re going to be doing 27 miles an hour across the country.

Remy Kassimir: That’s insane.

Tony Darrow: By the time you get back, Coronavirus will be over.

Liz Miele: Yeah, I think you could… Especially because me and my sister would go back and forth. I would drive four hours. That’s the best thing you can do, you don’t try to drive as much as you can until you get tired. Everybody does four, no matter if they’re tired or not.

Tony Darrow: So you want to come back to New York?

Remy Kassimir: For the only reason being I find it a little difficult to be a guest in someone else’s home for this amount of time. And also, I miss my cat.

Liz Miele: You should… Dude, I had this talk with two friends that are somewhere else, and I’m just like, yes, we’re in the epicenter, but as long as you’re not a moron, I don’t think it’s any different than being anywhere else. Like just fucking put a mask on, wear your gloves, wash your hands, don’t make out with anybody. I think it’s better to be comfortable than like you said, be a guest somewhere else and just be… Make this quarantine eight times worse.

Remy Kassimir: Yeah.

Tony Darrow: Well, plus, also, I think for myself, the first couple weeks… I got home on what, the 21st of March. When I left, I came back to a different world. So I just gave myself a couple weeks to just say, fuck it, and I’m going to sit on this couch, I’m going to drink and get high and watch fucking MSNBC and figure it out. And I just gave myself a time-out. Just take this all in and figure out what my next move is.

Tony Darrow: And now I feel good. Plus, the weather’s been bad. When spring comes, I think, people will be a lot more productive.

Remy Kassimir: I feel like I’m indoors all the time, anyway. Like I’m always sad and in bed. I don’t want to… I don’t understand how people’s lives… Right.

Tony Darrow: No, but I think it evens the playing field. It levels the playing field. It’s now everybody is sad and depressed. So you should be like, hey. I’m all right.

Remy Kassimir: Oh no. I’m thriving right now. I feel… because I’m like a Holocaust Jew. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.

Stephen Calabri: So, hey, welcome everybody to the show. We’re going to be covering stand-up comedy, the future of comedy and pretty much anything you guys what to talk about. It’s just a comedian free for all. Rebecca Trent, I consider you a comedian because you are funny. You’re just as fucked up as all the rest of the comedians are, which is a compliment.

Tony Darrow: That’s the worse love tanning complement I ever heard.

Stephen Calabri: It’s a complement with love, because Rebecca is like family at this point. So, Rebecca, let’s start with you as the comedy business owner of the crew. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you experiencing?

Rebecca Trent: I’m really nervous about the fate of my business. I’m really nervous about when we’re going to be able to do actual festivals again. The loss that we’ve experienced. Also, the people that we’ve lost, and we haven’t been able to congregate. We haven’t been able to hug each other and cry. Clint is gone, and Vic is gone. It’s really heavy. Before this is over, we’re going to lose more people. I’m concerned about how many people have left New York and who’s going to come back.

Stephen Calabri: Have there been a lot?

Rebecca Trent: Oh yeah. A lot of people have left. A lot of people, if they have an alternative, have gone for whatever that plan B is. A lot of people who were thinking about moving to New York are now reconsidering. The talent that we’re also not going to have coming in, the new talent coming in.

Liz Miele: I’m not worried about that.

Rebecca Trent: I’m talking about people from out of town. I’m concerned about people now waking up and deciding everybody is going to be a fucking comedian, because it seems like everyone’s trying out contents. There’s people who are signing up for online classes for stand up. God help us the first six weeks once we’re out of this. I’m probably going to have an air horn and blow it every time I hear the word corona. It’s going to be insane. The amount of worry and the amount of concern, some people are kind of cracking up a little bit. Some people are having a really, really tough time with this. Under quarantine, your brain box pills don’t work the same way, necessarily. A lot of stuff is happening. People are starting to say they are getting headache, and they’re freaking out. A lot of comedians are germophobes.

Liz Miele: [crosstalk] Comedians with addiction.

Rebecca Trent: A lot of comics are. Exactly. That. A lot of comics are germophobes. A lot of comics are hypochondriacs.

Liz Miele: OCD. Anxiety.

Rebecca Trent: Exactly. Anxiety disorders and stuff. All of this is just really fucking triggering. It’s a lot of checking in. Making sure people are getting what they need. There’s also a handful of people that are in some really toxic relationships, so they’re housed now with people that maybe they don’t necessarily want to be around, or were maybe better off in small doses.

Liz Miele: That are physically or emotionally abusive.

Rebecca Trent: Yeah, that too. There’s a lot of that. I’m also trying to figure out how to run a restaurant with one employee. My boyfriend is doing deliveries, and I’m working the counter and packing everything up and doing the curbside pick-up stuff. I’ve got Jamie in the kitchen and that’s it.

Stephen Calabri: Before we continue, can you explain to the listeners what The Creek is, because I always think of it as more than just… No, no, no. I think everybody knows by now it’s a comedy club, but I’ve always thought of it as more than just a comedy club. It’s like a comedy compound. It’s a community. It’s more than just audiences and comedians poke their heads in and take in comedy and then leave. People hand out at The Creek. They are multiple rooms. There’s an outdoor deck. How do you-

Remy Kassimir: I brought my cat there once.

Rebecca Trent: Yeah.

Tony Darrow: You did?

Rebecca Trent: Yeah, we always accept cats.

Stephen Calabri: How would you explain to encapsulate what The Creek is?

Rebecca Trent: The Creek is… What’s that guy’s name? Andrew W. Kay called it the CBGs of comedy. It’s basically a comedy spot with a California style restaurant-

Tony Darrow: I’m the only one old enough to get that reference.

Liz Miele: I got it.

Remy Kassimir: We get it.

Stephen Calabri: He was the only one who was there.

Tony Darrow: I was the only one who was there.

Remy Kassimir: He probably rented a t-shirt.

Liz Miele: I watched a documentary.

Tony Darrow: Oh my god. I used to sell quaaludes at the CBGs. That’s how old I am.

Remy Kassimir: Ah man. Remember quaaludes.

Tony Darrow: Yeah, right?

Stephen Calabri: What would you give for a bag of quaaludes right now?

Liz Miele: I’m sure if you-

Remy Kassimir: You can’t even get them man, I’ve asked.

Liz Miele: No, you’ve got to look in your parents’ boxes now. The same way you used to look for old pictures. You’re just like I’m sure my mom has some quaaludes. I’m know she does.

Tony Darrow: I wouldn’t do that anymore

Stephen Calabri: I wonder if they go bad though.

Liz Miele: No.

Tony Darrow: No, they don’t go bad.

Winston Hodges: You guys haven’t seen The Wolf of Wall Street?

Liz Miele: No. The way drugs work is they just become less potent, and you just start to do your own drug math.

Stephen Calabri: Well yeah, but it’s been like 40 years since somebody had quaaludes.

Liz Miele: Yeah.

Remy Kassimir: I had quaaludes once, and it was like three years ago.

Stephen Calabri: Oh, really?

Tony Darrow: Really?

Liz Miele: It just feels like you don’t go on Ebay the way we do.

Remy Kassimir: Yeah, before I went on a comedy show. It was sick.

Winston Hodges: They haven’t made them in like 25 years.

Stephen Calabri: Right. Exactly.

Liz Miele: That’s what Ebay is for.

Remy Kassimir: Somebody cooked them up in a bathtub somewhere.

Stephen Calabri: Right.

Winston Hodges: Did anyone here ever see the movie The Wolf of Wall Street?

Remy Kassimir: Uh huh.

Liz Miele: Yeah.

Winston Hodges: With Leonard DiCaprio. Do you remember that scene where they get the old quaaludes and they keep popping them, and they’re thinking that they’re old. They’re no good anymore. Leonard DiCaprio-

Liz Miele: That’s not because they’re old. It’s because they took like 70 quaaludes.

Winston Hodges: They just took longer to kick in. That’s all. Don’t you remember the condition they were in when they finally kicked in?

Liz Miele: Yeah. It’s time release quaaludes.

Stephen Calabri: Okay, like many conversations with comedians, this one has veered off into drugs.

Remy Kassimir: Whoa.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah. So Remy Kassimir, you are out in Portland, Oregon, correct?

Remy Kassimir: Yup.

Stephen Calabri: What’s the scene like out there?

Remy Kassimir: I was just saying to everybody before we started, like Portland and Oregonians in general, have responded really quickly and well to, like, stay home and do all these things, like stand six feet apart, and wash your hands, and all that stuff. They’re already very into, like, recycling and composting and stuff, so they just whipped into shape quickly. It’s weird. Like, everybody has masks on, and stuff. I still make friends in line from six feet away, because I miss human contact. If you’re six feet in front of me or six feet behind me, we’re having a conversation. Other than that, it feels kind of like ghost towny, but it’s kind of nice, because we can go to nature and walk around.

Tony Darrow: Are those Japanese gardens open?

Remy Kassimir: That’s so funny that you ask. My boyfriend’s mom runs the Chinese garden, and no the Japanese and Chinese garden are closed. It sucks.

Tony Darrow: That’s really nice of them. I did the Japanese garden. It’s really nice up there.

Remy Kassimir: That’s cool. My boyfriend’s been doing videos of the Chinese garden so that people can do virtual walk throughs instead.

Tony Darrow: Really?

Remy Kassimir: Everything is shut down.

Stephen Calabri: That’s awesome. So-

Remy Kassimir: [crosstalk] online.

Tony Darrow: You can social distance at the gardens. You can stay six feet away from people at the gardens. I don’t know why they have to be closed.

Remy Kassimir: I know.

Stephen Calabri: Well especially now, so few people are going out. By the way, we’re joined… This is mostly New Yorkers on this call, but we’re joined by an out of towner, everybody say hi to Winston Hodges.

Remy Kassimir: Hello, Winston Hodges.

Tony Darrow: Hello, Winston Hodges.

Liz Miele: Hi, Winston.

Rebecca Trent: Hi, Winston.

Winston Hodges: Hey.

Stephen Calabri: Winston, you are down here-

Tony Darrow: I love that name. That’s a great name.

Winston Hodges: Oh my god. Thank you.

Stephen Calabri: Winston, you’re down in Virgina, correct?

Winston Hodges: Yeah. I’m based out of Richmond, Virgina, but that means I spend a lot of time in D.C. and Richmond. I flow between those two places.

Stephen Calabri: First, can you start off with what the comedy scene there is like, and how it’s evolved or devolved in the past month, month and a half?

Winston Hodges: D.C. is great. I think it’s one of the best scenes in the country. Richmond is smaller. It is a southern art city, so it’s a pretty alternative comedy scene. A lot of music and stuff like that. A lot of hipsters have made Richmond pretty whole, but it’s not all nonexistent, man. Everybody’s obviously moved to online. All these stand ups are trying to do Instagram videos, and they as bad at Instagram videos as Instagram comics are at doing stand-up. It’s awful.

Remy Kassimir: Hilarious.

Stephen Calabri: Do you guys see, even more so now, that audiences or do you think that audiences are even more crucial to comedy than you did before? Or do you think that this is going [crosstalk]

Remy Kassimir: I started an Instagram live comedy club. Like the first week. Literally, I had two shows in Portland. One of them got canceled. I did the last show, and then I was like I’m going to do Instagram live comedy shows. Because if I can’t get on stage, there’s some way I need to get out material with audience feed-back. And like, you can kind of do it if you want to post jokes on Twitter, but not really. You can’t say things with, like the same innuendo or nuance. All of my shows have had a laugh track of me laughing with fake laughter as well, and the people in there post hearts and shit. It’s not the same, because there’s nothing better than an actual live comedy club, but you do get a trigger in your mind of serotonin bursts when you see the hearts going. Ali Kolbert even said when I played a fake laugh track, she was like I know it’s fake, but my body feels like it’s real.

Liz Miele: The same way they say you can smile to fake happiness.

Tony Darrow: Right.

Remy Kassimir: Literally.

Winston Hodges: If you smile long enough-

Liz Miele: You trick your brain into thinking you like yourself.

Stephen Calabri: Right, and there’s probably some data behind the idea that those jokes that illicit the increased hearts that you’re seeing from the audience are probably the ones that registered more. There’s something there, but if anything, Remy, has that crystallized in your mind that you needed an audience or do you think this is a new way to be doing comedy? This goes for Liz too. We haven’t heard from Liz yet.

Liz Miele: Not to take that from you, Remy, but I think every single comic would tell you, we’ve all gone through the open mic phase to get where we are now. We know the audience is important. You work so hard to get a real audience so that you can tell your jokes, that I don’t think any comic gets to a point where they’re performing in front of audiences or performing in front of their fans and doesn’t appreciate that.

Remy Kassimir: Oh my god, yeah.

Liz Miele: You do the open mic phase for so long. You do shitty bar shows for so long. You do shows after a snow storm and nine people show up. I think we all know we love and miss-

Tony Darrow: Nine people. Who books that gig?

Remy Kassimir: Hot dogs.

Winston Hodges: I would kill for nine people.

Tony Darrow: Right. Are you kidding me?

Liz Miele: We will soon.

Rebecca Trent: But only nine. That’s going to be the limit.

Liz Miele: That’s packed. That’s a sold-out show.

Winston Hodges: That’s it.

Stephen Calabri: Let me ask you this. What do you think, even after this is all over when everything is open again, do you think there’s going to be a little lag time before people… Are people going to be still lining up to get into the Comedy Cellar? Are people still going to feel comfortable to be in close spaces?

Rebecca Trent: Of course.

Liz Miele: I think it depends-

Remy Kassimir: Yeah. They’re going to come. It’s going to be up to the places to separate them.

Rebecca Trent: They’re going to have to change their set-up. The way that they pack people in, it’s going to be different. The governor of California was talking today about how waiters are going to have face masks from now on, and gloves and stuff from now on. The reality of club environment is going to have to alter as a result of this. There’s no question.

Winston Hodges: I can only speak for, I’m obviously coming from out of town, not being in New York or on the west coast or whatever, but people down here don’t give a shit. They are very ready to be out and going to shows.

Remy Kassimir: People didn’t give a shit in New York. I was out here already when New York went on lock down, but I had a show in New York that people were still buying tickets to. Before we were like no, we’re canceled.

Winston Hodges: Oh, for sure. The Cellar, I was there the second to last night. Even though they had every other table filled, they were still technically at capacity, because they weren’t filling every table. They were filling every other table. They still had to turn people away.

Remy Kassimir: People are hungry as fuck for comedy. I think that is the only reason anybody watches Remy’s Comedy Club is because they miss real comedy clubs. Do I think people are still going to watch internet comedy? Maybe. If they’re in a place with no access to it, but otherwise, they’re going to be flooding real clubs.

Liz Miele: Yeah. I also think it’s going to depend on if we actually have real testing, if we get the antibodies test. I’m not waiting for a vaccine. I’m waiting for an antibodies test. Right now, the numbers for who has been infected is not right. We know that. I know people that are like, hey my roommate has it, and I’m trying to get a test, and they won’t test me because I’m not showing signs. They’re so not testing every body that probably has it. Then what’s next I think is when we start having the antibodies test, and somebody can be like oh I must have had it. There’s going to be this antibodies club.

Remy Kassimir: I had it, but we don’t even know if having had it means that you can’t get it again. People say that about chicken pox too.

Stephen Calabri: Or there won’t be a resurgence of it.

Tony Darrow: No, they’re saying now that you can get it again. People in South Korea saying that.

Rebecca Trent: Yeah, there’s evidence you can get reinfected. They’ve had multiple cases.

Winston Hodges: They test less than 1% of the population. We already have 600,000 cases, with less than 1% testing. That’s scary.

Liz Miele: Not that I’m a biologist or even a person with any education, but I’m also… I started a podcast called Two Non-Doctors.

Tony Darrow: You’re an [inaudible 00:19:28].

Liz Miele: Yeah. It’s just me and my best friend, who is a London comic, just talking about what morons we are, but we Google and we think we’re better than people. But-

Remy Kassimir: Two Non Doctors?

Liz Miele: Two Non Doctors.

Remy Kassimir: Nice.

Winston Hodges: Oh, that’s great.

Liz Miele: It’s just about the fact that we… Like I diagnosed her misophonia, because I was like you sound crazy like this person. Anyway-

Remy Kassimir: Yes. I have misophonia. Self-diagnosed as well. I’m smiling.

Stephen Calabri: What is misophonia?

Liz Miele: Misophonia is-

Remy Kassimir: When you can’t hear a sound.

Winston Hodges: Who does the podcast?

Liz Miele: Yeah. It’s called a hatred of sound, but it’s basically normal sounds that we wouldn’t even think about, it sounds truly like nails on a chalk board. My friend can’t see or hear someone chewing gum, or she goes into a fit of rage.

Remy Kassimir: It’s real.

Winston Hodges: What’s it called now?

Remy Kassimir: Misophonia.

Liz Miele: Misophonia.

Winston Hodges: Spell it for me.

Liz Miele: M-I-S-O-P-H-O-N-I-A.

Remy Kassimir: Like misophonia.

Liz Miele: Also, I’m dyslexic and that was a very vulnerable thing for me for to do. That’s literally the scardiest I’ve been in quite some time. But back to what I was saying, I’m a moron. The other knowledge is that there’re false positives. My parents are veterinarians, so they’re slightly smarter. What my dad was trying to explain to me, is that a positive test saying that someone has the Coronavirus and they don’t have symptoms, yes they could be asymptomatic, but it could also be a false positive. There could be, you already had the antibodies and you were somebody it didn’t affect. There’s all these little minor stuff that I do not understand. Clearly a lot of people don’t understand. I don’t always know if “still having it” means what we think it means, but again I’m a moron and I don’t know.

Remy Kassimir: What does it mean if you have been exposed to it and it never shows up in you? Does is still live in you, like HPV, forever? Is there an expiration time?

Winston Hodges: Honestly, right now they don’t know. They don’t know. After you have Coronavirus, after the symptoms are gone, you can still test positive for Coronavirus even though you don’t have it anymore. They don’t know if you are contagious. So, you still have to lock down.

Remy Kassimir: Or if you were just around someone who had it, and you have it in your body but your symptoms have never come out. It doesn’t go away.

Stephen Calabri: As a result, aren’t young people, number one, are probably more likely to go to comedy shows in general. Young people are also, perhaps, less likely to become infected with the virus in a way that’s really serious, or to be infected at all. As a result, don’t you guys think young people going forward are going to be less inclined to adhere to strict, draconian social distancing and more likely-

Liz Miele: If they’re in college and they’re not going to go home to their parents. That’s what pissed me off. I was in Paris a month ago doing an European tour when it just got to Paris. I was in London when it just got to London. There’s a part of me that’s like I’m pretty sure-

Winston Hodges: Have you been tested?

Liz Miele: I’ve been telling people I’m patient zero, or patient one. I don’t know how to say that.

Remy Kassimir: Patient zero.

Liz Miele: Thank you. It’s funny. I knew enough to know when I was in Paris, I was meeting new comics and they would go in for a handshake, and I would be like hey man, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m just not going to do that. I remember getting kind of pushed back. I went to go get lunch with a friend and she had a baby, in London. I hadn’t seen her, clearly, since she had her baby. I said hey, I’m going to come, but I’m not going to touch your baby. I’m not going to touch her toys. I’m not going to hug you guys, because I don’t want to be responsible for killing your baby. It’s really about the individual-

Winston Hodges: You’re all harsh.

Liz Miele: Yes. Well, it’s this thing that I might not get sick-

Remy Kassimir: Did she give you push back for that? She’s like touch my fucking baby.

Liz Miele: They weren’t taking it seriously. They thought I was being weird. I was like I can’t live with myself, as somebody that travels the world, that if I do have it and I’m asymptomatic and the babies and the old people are the ones that are most vulnerable, that I give it to your baby. It was me going, I don’t know enough. I’m going to pull back, but there’s this social responsibility that I think a lot of young people aren’t understanding. Maybe if you’re at college and it’s all other college kids, but also you don’t know if somebody has an autoimmune disease. You don’t know if somebody had cancer 10 years ago, and they’re in a more vulnerable place because of it. It’s this assumption that I am young. There’s 20 year olds that have died from it. There’s 30 years that have died.

Stephen Calabri: There are babies that have died from it.

Liz Miele: Babies were always kind of vulnerable.

Remy Kassimir: I think it’s just kind of dependent on what type of personality you have. There have been old people that have been like no, fuck this. I’m not going to die. I’m going out.

Liz Miele: My dad was that. He’s in his 60s.

Remy Kassimir: My dad is that.

Liz Miele: I’ve had to tell my dad-

Remy Kassimir: It’s just a personality type.

Winston Hodges: My dad’s dead, so I’m good.

Liz Miele: Oh, good.

Remy Kassimir: Oh.

Winston Hodges: I’m sad.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Liz Miele: Yeah there’s a part of me that before was like sorry for your loss, and you’re like ah man, you’re so lucky.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah. Nothing to worry about.

Liz Miele: I think everybody has been yelling at their parents. I’ve noticed people, if their not 80, they’re like I’m fine. You’re like cool-

Remy Kassimir: I’m fine.

Liz Miele: Yeah. My dad has-

Remy Kassimir: My dad has been walking in Central Park. I’m like are you asking for it?

Liz Miele: I don’t think you’re getting it from trees. As long as other people aren’t around, I don’t think that’s bad.

Remy Kassimir: There’re hospitals in the park now.

Liz Miele: That’s true. I forgot about that. Yeah, that’s a valid point.

Remy Kassimir: They’re digging graves in the park.

Tony Darrow: Well, they got sickies right there.

Stephen Calabri: Right, if anything that’s the safest place to be.

Remy Kassimir: Yes, they’re digging graves in the park. Temporary graves.

Tony Darrow: Digging graves?

Winston Hodges: They’re digging graves in the park?

Remy Kassimir: Temporary graves in the park. They ran out of room on the island.

Liz Miele: Who’s doing it? Badgers? What’s with that? How does that work?

Remy Kassimir: Rats. They’re putting the rats to work.

Liz Miele: Finally.

Remy Kassimir: We’re not getting any scab badgers.

Stephen Calabri: Now, I want to ask everyone. In keeping with the quarantine-

Tony Darrow: That’s a bad idea. What happens when they rise up as zombies in a few months? Because that’s inevitable.

Remy Kassimir: That is.

Stephen Calabri: That’s the next step of this.

Stephen Calabri: We’ll be right back with the second half of the interview, but first be sure to check out WhoWhatWhy’s other podcast, Radio WhoWhatWhy hosted by radio personality and journalist Jeff Schechtman. Also, to read WhoWhatWhy’s groundbreaking print reporting, check out the site on the web at and on Twitter.

Stephen Calabri: Viral News is a production of which depends on contributions from its listeners. Head over to to make a donation.

Stephen Calabri: I’m curious to know, from the point of view of comedians and from comedy proprietors, what is the consensus about the SNL episode?

Remy Kassimir: I loved it.

Stephen Calabri: You liked it?

Remy Kassimir: I thought they did a good job. Yeah.

Liz Miele: I thought every TikTok person did a better job.

Remy Kassimir: Every TikTok person did a better job?

Liz Miele: Yeah. I feel like they have less technology-

Remy Kassimir: TikTokers make fun of us the way that our parents are like, you guys can’t cook. That generation is like, well they can’t edit. They all can just edit film. It’s very bizarre.

Liz Miele: I will say this, there’s more control and it’s easier. It’s the same way that you’re like, I don’t understand why a giant company like Google can’t get this done, but a small company with three employees can get it done, and that’s actually where things get to get slogged up-

Remy Kassimir: Probably because there was so much fighting amongst all of them. Some of them have really passive aggressive posts before being like, well we’re going to do this. I don’t know if it’s going to be good. It’s like, if you would have done it weeks ago… I don’t know. I think it was recognized that they did it, because they could do it.

Stephen Calabri: Can you guys explain what the episode actually was? It was all of the cast members basically dialing in or Zooming in individually, right?

Liz Miele: Basically they were in charge. It was almost like TikTok. You do your own sketch, so you’re doing your own props. You’re doing your own little signs. I’m sure somebody else edited it.

Remy Kassimir: Some of them were together though. They had a Zoom sketch that was edited together, which was good. But I did a Zoom sketch like two weeks before a Passover Seder, I’m just saying.

Stephen Calabri: Not to plant any flames.

Liz Miele: I always think Weekend Update is the strongest, but it’s the one you can do in quarantine for the rest of your life. It’s just two people telling jokes with some signs. I think what they attempted was valid. I think like I said, more people on a project is harder than less people on project. You’re almost going back to your roots in some ways, which is how uniquely diligent for you to make content on your own pre-SNL.

Remy Kassimir: Yeah. Some of them look like audition tapes, but in a good way. Where I was like this is so pure, you can actually see their balance.

Liz Miele: You can see why they got that. Like Kate McKinnon. Was it Kate McKinnon?

Remy Kassimir: I was just going to say, Kate’s RBG was so great.

Liz Miele: Brilliant. It was brilliant. It was so well done. It just goes back to, oh I can see why this person got this job. This may sound shitty, but you can also see somebody recommended this person. Somebody knows somebody, and that’s how they got this job.

Stephen Calabri: Right. Remy, as far as your online stand up show goes, are you planning for it to evolve in any way? Where does it go from here? How much can you really do just by yourself or behind a screen?

Remy Kassimir: So, that’s the thing. I made a whole different account for it, because I was getting tired of going live from my own account, but also I wanted other people to be able to produce shows the way that we can do it at The Creek in real life. A lot of people will produce shows there, because a lot of people go there. I feel like Remy’s Comedy Club has created a little group of people who are really there for comedy. So, I’ve given my password to other comics that can now run their own shows and have other comics call in. I don’t know if it’s going to be a thing after. Unless I’m broadcasting my own live shows for people who are like in Estonia.

Liz Miele: Are you monetizing it?

Remy Kassimir: People have been Venmoing us, if they can.

Tony Darrow: Hey, don’t say things about Estonia. Estonia is a nice little country.

Remy Kassimir: I’m just saying it doesn’t have the most access to comedy.

Liz Miele: I actually read an article about that changing, but not to step on your joke.

Remy Kassimir: Oh really?

Liz Miele: Not to raise my hand and be like, actually their comedies are booming.

Stephen Calabri: Go ahead. Do it.

Remy Kassimir: No. That’s amazing. I love that for them.

Liz Miele: Yeah. I’m very proud of them. There’s this one guy, Louis, that’s pretty much launched the fact that there’s comedy in Estonia.

Remy Kassimir: Amazing.

Liz Miele: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I didn’t get there because I think I pissed off his friend. I got to Finland. I got close.

Rebecca Trent: I never want to hug or shake another comedian’s hand again.

Remy Kassimir: That’s all I want to do.

Stephen Calabri: Comedians specifically, or just people in general?

Winston Hodges: You’re not alone. A lot of people have felt that way for a long time.

Liz Miele: When I was in Paris and I started to take it seriously and I was meeting these guys, they were giving me push back. I was like man, I wish I had… I would love to never hug anybody. I’m cold. I was never hugged as a child, and I really had to autistically learn how to be a nice person-

Stephen Calabri: Well, let’s talk about that.

Remy Kassimir: You had to learn how to be you. It’s great.

Liz Miele: It just makes me uncomfortable, but you learn social ques. You learn to be the person you’re supposed to be. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy hugs, but I’ll hug my friends.

Remy Kassimir: Unlearn it, baby. Unlearn. Right away.

Liz Miele: It’s crazy where I thought about, if I never have to touch another male comics slimy hand again-

Stephen Calabri: So, specifically males we’re talking about here? You could shake Remy’s hand, and it would be totally fine.

Winston Hodges: Is it really necessary to throw in slimy?

Liz Miele: Yeah. They’re slimy. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s very distracting to shake a host’s hand and it be gross. And then you have to be on stage for a half hour and not think… And I’m not even OCD dude. Then of course, I’m trying to eat food in between my sets, so then literally the first thing I do when I get off stage is wash my hands. So if I go to grab something and eat it while I go to another spot, I don’t have to think about male slime hands.

Winston Hodges: It’s very specific. You could have just said another comedian’s slimy hands. It was very specific that you said male. I’m glad you’re making it more specific by a certain group of males. Is it a certain group of males that are more slimy than others?

Stephen Calabri: Which makes me think there’s a particular comic.

Liz Miele: Yeah, there’s some more clubs I work. You know there’s four hosts in the entire city.

Remy Kassimir: I’m trying to think of the host with the stickiest hands and why.

Stephen Calabri: Let’s throw some names around after the mics are off.

Tony Darrow: I’m going to tell every hosts that I work with that she said he has slimy hands. Then he’ll jump on her. So if they wiz at you, it was this guy.

Stephen Calabri: You’ll be getting a call from Ardie Fuqua.

Liz Miele: Well that’s about hugging.

Rebecca Trent: God damn.

Stephen Calabri: Liz, to your point, Anthony Fauci has said it would probably best for people to just never shake hands again. Because people in general are slimy, and what better way to spread your germs to someone.

Winston Hodges: Nobody is shaking hands anymore. That’s done. That’s over.

Remy Kassimir: Did you see, there was a charity a bunch of comedians did to raise money for working comics on Twitter? Comedy Gives Back. Did you… Oh no.

Rebecca Trent: Is that the same show Jodi Lieberman did?

Remy Kassimir: It was-

Liz Miele: It’s the one they did a whole show about.

Winston Hodges: [inaudible] no?

Remy Kassimir: Jimmy Fallon, Howie Mandel and Bob Saget and Whitney Cummings and Dan Soder, a bunch of comics at different levels, but it was the funniest thing. They had Howie Mandel host the first hour just because he wanted to tell this joke like, I’ve been telling you this whole time not to shake hands. I told you so.

Winston Hodges: I told you so.

Remy Kassimir: I told you so. It was so worth it, but then you realize that you have a man who has acute OCD hosting live broadcasts. And he can’t get in touch with production via headset and he starts spiraling. Oh my god. It was insane.

Stephen Calabri: That sounds like the most organic comedy.

Liz Miele: I was joking about-

Remy Kassimir: Kids.

Liz Miele: Less about kids. I’m literally bad mouthing my boyfriend in front of him. I’m like, put on your noise canceling headphones. I want to talk to my friends. I think the weirdest thing most comedians don’t have, or at least I don’t know any comedians, that have large houses or apartments. I don’t know how… I’ve done some of these live shows like Remy’s talking about, and it’s weird to be doing… My boyfriend is a comedian, and I feel weird with him in the other room listening to me doing jokes. It feels vulnerable.

Remy Kassimir: I had to do a promo for something the other day. Something podcast related, so I’m talking about cum, cum, cum, cum, and it’s the most hollow house in the world. I can hear my boyfriend’s parents gardening. I’m just like, hey guys. It’s Remy, your neighborhood cum slut. Like over and over again.

Liz Miele: I can’t wait for you to become a nun after this.

Winston Hodges: I can’t wait for you to meet my parents.

Stephen Calabri: There are people like Billy Burr who podcasts at home, but he’s been doing that for 10 years now.

Remy Kassimir: He also probably has a sound-proof basement. It’s not like in the guest room.

Rebecca Trent: In his guest home.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah, it seems as, Remy, again, that’s what you do for a living. So, they kind of have to be understanding, don’t they?

Remy Kassimir: Yeah, of course, but it’s still… I went from podcasting in my grandmother’s house to her dying and me thinking, oh now at least I’ll be able to speak more freely. Now I’m living with my boyfriend’s family.

Liz Miele: Oh god.

Stephen Calabri: Funny how you were more comfortable around your grandmother talking about cum.

Remy Kassimir: 100%

Liz Miele: How do you think she learned about this stuff? Come on.

Remy Kassimir: We have the same body. I was like, oh that’s why my nipples look this way.

Stephen Calabri: I’m curious you guys. I don’t want to get too sappy here. This crisis has given me plenty of time to reflect on what I loved about comedy and the stand-up scene in general. What, if anything, has occurred to you guys about what you miss most? I think about stuff that’s really, really small. Just sitting around a table with people at the club, or that one person that walks in and always says the same thing and it’s hilarious.

Winston Hodges: Watching my friends bomb in a good room. I miss it. More than anything. There’s nothing like it when the only laugh is the laugh of the other comics, and it’s a real laugh. The laughter of watching your friends fail. I’ve got to talk to you about it afterwards. It’s the best.

Stephen Calabri: How they completely lost a room that should have been the lay-up.

Winston Hodges: Yeah, it’s awesome. Then they blame the room as someone else’s killing. It’s like this is their state of mind. This is amazing. This fucking room. You know this room gets bad 45-50 minutes in then it gets good again. I got the worse spot.

Stephen Calabri: Tony, it must really suck for you right now, because you travel a lot.

Tony Darrow: Yeah. I came back. I left here on March 9th, and this is when it was just kind of starting. They weren’t doing the shelter in place yet. They were just starting talking about the shelter in place. I came back on the 20th through Atlanta. I came from Buenos Aires. I had two fever checks in the airport. Then I went through Santiago. I had two fever checks in the airport. I get to Atlanta, the home of the CDC, nothing. Just walked through. Hello. Nothing. No questions. I get there on a Friday afternoon. Atlanta airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and nothing was open. Except a bar where I sat there and drank and had lunch. Come to think of it, nobody was wearing masks or anything.

Rebecca Trent: What day was that?

Tony Darrow: That was on Friday, March 20th.

Rebecca Trent: Wow.

Tony Darrow: That was three weeks ago.

Stephen Calabri: That was post stock market crash.

Rebecca Trent: Yeah.

Tony Darrow: Yeah. I don’t even understand why it’s not crashing more. It’s like reality hasn’t hit the stock market yet.

Rebecca Trent: I think it’s just Charmin holding it all up. I think it’s just, toilet paper is like we’ll get you through this.

Stephen Calabri: Toilet paper and food.

Remy Kassimir: And Netflix.

Rebecca Trent: And Zoom.

Remy Kassimir: Netflix and toilet paper are in cahoots and Zoom.

Winston Hodges: I get Netflix for free with T-Mobile, so how is Netflix?

Rebecca Trent: Didn’t the stock market get a huge bailout at the beginning of this? Right at the beginning? I think they got a trillion dollars or something like that. It happened right at the time when we were sheltered in place.

Tony Darrow: Who is this?

Rebecca Trent: The stock market. Yeah, this is Rebecca talking.

Tony Darrow: I lost you for a second. Who got that influx of cash?

Rebecca Trent: The stock market. I think that they got a bailout right at the beginning, so they were keeping it artificially afloat for a little while. That’s why it hasn’t quite gone as bad as it could have.

Stephen Calabri: Have you guys read about the senators that sold off a shit load of stock like a week or two-

Remy Kassimir: Oh yeah those guys can burn. Eat the rich. Fuck those fucks.

Stephen Calabri: On the one hand-

Tony Darrow: I’m going to eat the rich. I’m with you.

Stephen Calabri: If you were in that position and you were reading the news and perhaps you even had more access to reliable information than the average person did, wouldn’t you also be inclined-

Remy Kassimir: I would.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah. It’s a human thing.

Liz Miele: I would but I would also be shouting… Sorry.

Remy Kassimir: For other people to do that.

Rebecca Trent: You have to tell everyone. If you’re going to do it, but you have to fucking tell everyone.

Liz Miele: Yes. Thank you about that. Yes. I agree with Rebecca. It’s fine that they knew it, but why weren’t they shouting from the roof tops, hey guys this is serious.

Winston Hodges: It wasn’t that they weren’t shouting that. They were shouting the opposite.

Rebecca Trent: That’s exactly right, and that’s what makes it criminal.

Tony Darrow: It’s a liberal hoax. The fake news.

Rebecca Trent: It was a money grab. In the beginning they turned this into a money grab instead of a health crisis.

Tony Darrow: It’s still a money grab.

Remy Kassimir: I fucking hate them.

Winston Hodges: The Cloraclean or whatever that they’re tabbing. It’s literally a snake oil salesman.

Tony Darrow: Trump says, I hear good things about this drug. You’re not a doctor. What are you talking about?

Rebecca Trent: He’s not even a politician.

Tony Darrow: People take it. Oh he’s a politician all right.

Remy Kassimir: I say let his people go outside.

Winston Hodges: Yes. That’s it. Go to more church services and fun rallies.

Remy Kassimir: Go to church. Tongue kiss each other. Tongue kiss your minister. Everybody. One by one.

Rebecca Trent: North Carolina is still threatening to have the republican fucking, what is that? The RNC is supposed to be in North Carolina.

Tony Darrow: The convention?

Liz Miele: They’re still like, I don’t know. Maybe we’ll do it.

Tony Darrow: The guy that’s a head of the… What’s it called?

Liz Miele: Don’t you want them to do it? So they lose some of them.

Tony Darrow: The Freedom Caucus they said we should have opened up yesterday. They wanted to open up yesterday. Prove it. Get together. Get together at the convention.

Stephen Calabri: The president is also uniquely loving and adoring of crowds. If there’s anybody whose appeal is directly tied to his ability to read a room, his wanting to get up and soak in the adulation. There’s no one with a greater interest in having a stadium full of people.

Liz Miele: That’s not true.

Tony Darrow: The press room is not his room, that’s for sure.

Liz Miele: Yeah, but every single comedian wants that as well, and we were staying at home. We are starting online comedy clubs and just Tweeting more. Why can’t you just Tweet more nonsense? It’s just kind of-

Winston Hodges: He’s a Gallagher of not playing to his crowd.

Remy Kassimir: Who invited you to the joke channel? What are you doing?

Tony Darrow: He doesn’t have Trump News? Doesn’t he have some type of online news network.

Rebecca Trent: He was going to start a radio show, but he decided he didn’t want to do it because he was afraid he would have to compete with Rush Limbaugh.

Tony Darrow: I got to ask you an important question about that story I sent you.

Stephen Calabri: Okay. All right.

Tony Darrow: Does anybody want to see that? They want to see that. I should ask Liz. I did want to ask you, because her parents are vets.

Liz Miele: What story?

Tony Darrow: It was a story in The New York Times the other day about how the rats in New York City and all over the country are being… Their food supply is cut off.

Stephen Calabri: Wait, Tony. Hold that thought one second. Let me wrap this up. Thanks a lot for coming everybody. All right, go ahead. Go ahead. I was kidding.

Tony Darrow: The rats are… Their food supply has been cut off now all the restaurants are closed, there’s no people in New York. There’re more rats than people in New York City. There might be 15 million rats in New York City, and they’re going to war. They’re having turf wars. They’re eating their young. They’re resorting to cannibalism. I got to tell you. I wouldn’t mind watch a rat war in Time Square. There’s nothing else going on.

Rebecca Trent: That T.V. show is going to launch in two weeks. We need content.

Tony Darrow: There’s a rat war going on in Time Square, I’m going to Time Square. Why wouldn’t they bring it to the streets?

Rebecca Trent: We need content.

Winston Hodges: I think they’ll be bringing it out to the street when it gets just a little bit warmer.

Remy Kassimir: Somebody’s just going to get a little nice thing to hold an iPhone and they’re going to get beautiful footage, and it’s going to be viral as fuck.

Stephen Calabri: Hell yeah. I would watch that. Anyone would watch that.

Tony Darrow: The rat war?

Liz Miele: Tony, I’m just confused. What are you worried about? The fact the rats might die? We’ve been trying to do that for years.

Tony Darrow: No. I’m worried about-

Liz Miele: Or that they’re going to thrive?

Remy Kassimir: Like Vanessa Hudgens said, yeah rats are going to die. Whatever. Is that bad?

Tony Darrow: No. I’m just talking about the actual rat war. Honestly, like I told Stephen, to be perfectly honest, I’d rather watch that than watch baseball.

Stephen Calabri: Yeah, because it’s real.

Tony Darrow: I would put that on.

Winston Hodges: Let’s do it.

Tony Darrow: The rat war. You’re not going to watch the rat war?

Stephen Calabri: But okay, Tony-

Tony Darrow: Rachel Meadow is on. Fuck Rachel Meadow. The rat war is just starting.

Stephen Calabri: You know what Rachel Meadow is going to say.

Tony Darrow: [crosstalk] I don’t know what’s happening in the rat war.

Stephen Calabri: Right, exactly. First of all, are you watching to see what ultimately happens? Like if one rat emerges victorious or are you watching with the fear that eventually they are going to overtake humanity?

Remy Kassimir: They are not. They are small. We will-

Rebecca Trent: Not in New York.

Tony Darrow: Honestly, can they do any worse than Trump?

Winston Hodges: I mean, really. I’m not worried about that.

Stephen Calabri: If the rat council was to suddenly overtake-

Tony Darrow: I would think one team would win. It would be like a sport league. You would vote for [crosstalk 00:43:51].

Remy Kassimir: I think a lot of people wouldn’t be rooting for a specific rat. They just like the sport.

Rebecca Trent: I think it’s going to be the next-

Tony Darrow: Pick a side.

Rebecca Trent: It’s going to be the next rat king. There’s going to be a documentary in a year about-

Tony Darrow: Come on kids. The rat war is on.

Remy Kassimir: Tiger King.

Stephen Calabri: It can go even bigger than that. When the writers-

Remy Kassimir: Carol Baskin.

Stephen Calabri: When there was the writers’ strike in the early 90s, that brought about cops. Cops never went away. After all of this ends, we’re still going to be left with rat wars.

Tony Darrow: Let’s let them know that Carol Baskin killed her fucking husband and fed him to a tiger. Period. We’ll let them know that.

Remy Kassimir: Oh, did you see that? Did you see Netflix did another episode with Joel McHale, and it’s from home and him interviewing a bunch of people from the doc.

Tony Darrow: No.

Remy Kassimir: It’s on Netflix. It’s new.

Rebecca Trent: Homeboy got teeth. It was great.

Liz Miele: That’s so exciting.

Tony Darrow: I’ve got to watch that.

Liz Miele: Good for him.

Winston Hodges: Well, I’m going to head out guys. It was nice to meet everybody.

Tony Darrow: All right, nice to meet you.

Liz Miele: Bye.

Rebecca Trent: Bye.

Stephen Calabri: It’s nice to meet you, Winston.

Remy Kassimir: Bye everyone.

Rebecca Trent: Make good choices.

Tony Darrow: Great name. I love your name.

Remy Kassimir: Make good choices.

Stephen Calabri: I’m going to wrap this up, but we can stay on. Thank you guys so much for coming. I love all of you. It was great talking to you, and let’s do this again.

Tony Darrow: Okay.

Rebecca Trent: Yeah.

Remy Kassimir: Bye guys.

Liz Miele: Bye.

Stephen Calabri: If you like this podcast, please share it and help others find it by rating it and reviewing it on iTunes, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Stephen Calabri: The show is a production of which depends on contributions from readers and listeners like you. To make a donation, check out the website at Once again, I’m Stephen Calabria. Stay safe and stay home.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Thomas Hawk / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) and Antti T. Nissinen / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


  • Bethany Carlson

    Bethany Carlson is a writer and editor and the co-director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program.

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