NEW YORK - Amid the pandemic, some men and women are not only finding something to laugh about during a difficult time -they’re laughing at jokes they created themselves.
“Lynn writes, 'A study was done that says women who carry a little extra weight tend to live longer than the men who mention it.' Pretty good one Lynn," said Comedian Jo Firestone while reading a joke written by one of the participants in her comedy workshop.
They’re part of a weekly comedy workshop, one of the many programs the non profit Greenwich House provides at four senior centers in Lower Manhattan. The workshop started in March before the city went into lockdown.
After meeting only once in person, the class went virtual when the stay at home order went into effect. Now, the seniors share their zingers on Zoom.
"I bought memory foam shoes but they don’t help much when I was in my kitchen I still forgot why I was there," said one of the workshop participants while reading a joke he wrote.
Barbara Bova never misses a class. It has made living in isolation less isolated.
"You know we are a lively bunch. And it makes you feel good to be with them and to participate with them. And we feed off each other," Bova said.
Firestone volunteers her time to run the workshop. It was actually her idea as a way to give back. She says the lockdown has made the class even more important.
"It's a nice way to make friends and laugh even if the rest of your week is not so great," Firestone said.
Every week she gives the class a take home assignment; write a joke, a monologue or a goofy recipe. During their improv exercises the seniors have to come up with quick responses to certain prompts like "Zoom is so bad..."
“Zoom is so bad that it caught me naked 14 out of 15 times, "said one of the participants.
They're not making light of the tragedy of COVID-19 but rather poking fun at how social distancing and wearing masks have changed their lives.
“Linda the weather has been so nice I want to rip off my mask and get a suntan," said one of the workshop participants.
They say comedy is all about timing.
For these seniors, this workshop could not have come along at a better time.
"It's so vibrant I get that from them. It's good if someone rubs off on me that's good then I feel good. That's a good way to be vibrant and happy," Bova said.