Many of you would’ve heard about the cancellation of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  That was only the beginning of what has become an avalanche of lost work and an inability to earn an income for what appears to be at least several months.  So how am I going to get through this period?  What does a guy in my situation do? 

Firstly, I’d like to say I’m in a reasonably fortunate position in comparison to many others who will be doing it tough.  I am a married man with a wife who works in emergency services whose job is essential and therefore safe during this period.  That said, what will be coming in to the house during this time will not quite cover what’s going out, and I’m not one of those who would qualify for any Centrelink benefits.  What that means is the longer this thing plays out, the more into my meagre savings I’ll have to dig into – but I guess we will find a way to manage somehow.

Today I got the news that my children will not be attending school from Tuesday.  I know many who believe that schools should’ve been closed sooner.  However, what people fail to understand is that I had a game of golf planned for this Tuesday and now that won’t be happening.  Priorities people!!  But all jokes aside, one of the things over the last week or two when this all went down was that I got a few games of golf in, and I thought perhaps that would be one outlet where I could clear my head from all the issues I’m dealing with and enjoy another passion of mine.  It’s highly possible for some weeks that it may not be an option either.

Just so you know, whilst I wasn’t completely booked out every week through till June, I have had several cancellations which go well over $10,000 in lost income plus the many guest spots I do at The Comic’s Lounge which has been forced to close its doors over the social distancing and limited gathering rulings.  I’ve had some ideas about making some income during this time.  People have suggested I live stream some shows on a “pay-per-view” basis and many have expressed that they’d support me by buying in.  I was speaking with a colleague about it, and the concern is that posting our material on-line often means that the material can be misused commercially by others or it simply “burns” material for future use.  We’ve seen instances where comedians have posted their stand-up on-line only to have some audience member call out the punchline and ruin the gag in a live setting.  This is a big dilemma. 
Another potential issue with live-streaming is you want to put out a product that has good production values and not look amateurish in order for people to deem it worthy to pay to watch.  That can cost a lot of money which most of us don’t really have to spend right now.  And I’m certainly one of those comedians who doesn’t want to put out something that looks like it was done for nothing.  We have to rely on friends and people willing to either share the financial risk or donate their services for a possible cut of the streaming purchases.  Some would be willing, but not everyone, but it is something I’m still considering.

For at least the next three weeks I’ll be home looking after my 8 year old son and 11 year old daughter while my wife is at work.  I’ll be doing the cooking and the laundry – please don’t tell my wife I know how to use the washing machine.  It will be the end of me.  I think my wife knows better than to get me to sweep and mop, but I reckon cleaning the toilets and shower will be something I will have to endure.  Ironing, however, is beyond me.  I’ve tried many times and failed dismally.  The one good thing about my daughter is that she was the one who introduced me to TikTok, and in a lot of cases is the one filming me when I make the videos that I post.  So one thing that will occupy some of my time is me making TikToks and posting them on all my social media pages.  I’ve even set up a Patreon page, but have no idea what I’m doing yet.  I might have to learn quickly as there can be some money made if done well.

I have merchandise I sell, and I was thinking about doing some sort of a push to get people to purchase some to help me out in this time.  But then am I sounding desperate and looked upon as some sort of charity case if I do that?  And besides, I know I have a lot of success selling T-Shirts at shows, but nobody seems to be buying comedy DVD’s or any DVD’s any more for that matter.  I’m still considering my options.  Maybe if I designed a T-Shirt that said “Fuck Coronavirus” I might get rich!!  Food for thought.

No, it seems most likely I’m going to have to ride this next few months out being a stay-at-home Dad living off my wife’s wages and hopefully not going too far backwards on our mortgage and school-fees.  Public schools have never seemed more attractive than now.  With any luck, I’ll be able to get 2 or 3 rounds of golf in a week in the not too distant future and my sanity should remain intact.  I am a positive thinker and I believe that when this is over, not only will things return to normal, but we all may have learnt a thing or two about ourselves and become stronger and more resilient than ever.  And, let’s face it, there’s a shitload of new material coming from this debacle!  Watch this space...