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Quontent Roundup: The Best Comedians and Filmmakers Getting Weird in Quarantine

As creatives adapt to a new way of life, many are using time in quarantine to invent new forms of entertainment. Here are some of the best.

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, Joe Firestone, and Drew Droege

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, Joe Firestone, and Drew Droege

Mindy Tucker/Screenshot

In the words of “Sweeney Todd” pie baker Mrs. Lovett, “Times is hard.” As everyone adjusts to the new reality of working remotely, comedians and filmmakers who rely on freelance work are being hit hard. Film and TV productions are shutting down faster than we can update our exhaustive running list. Comedians are losing out on precious weekly gigs. Theater practitioners are worried the nonprofit theater world may not bounce back. An already tenuous lifestyle just became a whole lot harder.

And yet, creatives gotta create. Lock a comedian or filmmaker in their apartment for seven days straight and they are bound to come up with some pretty entertaining — if more than a little bizarre — content. With everyone else stuck at home craving human connection and distractions, they have a more willing audience than ever before. In an effort to find a silver lining, IndieWire is keeping tabs on the most inventive new media to come out of our collective worldwide quarantine. We’re calling it #Quontent.

Below, find IndieWire’s roundup of the best additions so far.

Chloe returns!

An early adopter of YouTube, alt comedian Drew Droege rose to cult status with his series of outrageously inaccurate and wickedly silly impersonations of indie film legend Chloë Sevigny. With an askance blonde wig and clownish makeup, Droege’s unique impression consists of toying with syllabic emphases in ridiculous ways and name-dropping C-list celebrities. The real Chloë Sevigny is aware of the videos, but not exactly a fan.

Maybe partly for that reason, Droege has since moved on. He starred in the short-lived “Heathers” TV show, voiced a few episodes of “Bob’s Burgers,” and will soon appear opposite Kate Beckinsale and Adrien Brody in “El Tonto,” written and directed by Charlie Day. Chloe, it seemed, had been retired. That is, until this week, when Droege came out with a new “Chloe” video. The timely topic? Solace.

Filmmaker H.P. Mendoza satirizes issues with video conferencing.

As we all adjust to Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, and FaceTime as the new reality, the wonders of technology have never felt so vital. And yet, anyone who has used these services in the last week knows they often require… troubleshooting. H.P. Mendoza, best known as the writer and star of 2006’s micro-budget cult hit “Colma: The Musical,” understands the trials and tribulations of video-chatting your coworkers. He released this brilliantly edited and performed video earlier this week.

Watch expertly curated double features with other discerning cinephiles.

In the absence of big-screen repertory programming, the cinephiles over at Remote Viewing Cinema are programming a brilliant selection of double features to satisfy your arthouse cravings. Pairings have included the sensual duo of “Blue Steel” and “Bound”; “The Secret of Kells” and “Kedi” for a feline fix; and the quirky leading ladies of “Muriel’s Wedding” and “Starstruck.” The account always includes where to find the films for easy (and free!) streaming, as well as commentary from well-informed curators on each selection. Follow along on Instagram here.

Quarantunes: Be lulled out of anxiety by the soothing improvised songs of Morgan Bassichis.

Comedian, activist, therapist, and songwriter Morgan Bassichis is one of the most inventive and inspiring performers creating today. Living deliciously in the sweet hereafter between artist and comedian, Bassichis has shown work at the Whitney Museum, written for ArtForum, and performed alongside John Early. Last week, Bassichis updated their Instagram bio to offer personal songs for anyone struggling during this time, coining the term “Quarantunes.” The pitch: “DM me if you’re having a hard time and want a song! We will get through this!” The free associated ditties range in topic, include the joys of showering, battling insomnia, and wondering who ate all the granola. The bizarre bops are highly amusing and curiously calming. More here.

 

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Butterboy’s first official livestream!

Brooklyn comedy mainstay Butterboy is a weekly stand-up show hosted by terrific trio Maeve Higgins (“Extra Ordinary”), Aparna Nancherla (“Corporate”), and Jo Firestone (“Joe Pera Talks With You”). Faced with canceled shows for the foreseeable future, the gang decided to livestream their shows weekly with the same banging lineup they’re famous for hosting IRL.

Butterboy is one of the shows A-list comedians drop into when they’re in town and available, with recent guests including Sarah Silverman and Todd Barry. With everyone at home on their couches, there are sure to be more than a few exciting surprise guests. Hari Kondabolu will headline the first official livestream, which will occur Monday, March 23  at 4 p.m. PST, 7 p.m. EST. Here’s the link to buy sliding scale tickets.

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