Stand-up comedian tests material out against the toughest audience: a Zoom breakout room

Stand-up comedian tests material out against the toughest audience: a Zoom breakout room

Photo Credits: Kaitlyn Pang / Aggie

He just wanted to make someone laugh

Laughter is truly the best medicine. That is why Arian Reeves became a stand-up comedian. Hearing the laughter of an audience is a magical feeling, and Reeves hoped to experience making someone laugh one day.

Jumping into a breakout room for his accounting class, the lull between conversation had passed and awkward staring ensued. Noticing the new material he had written in his notebook, then looking at the desolate faces on his screen, Reeves had an epiphany.

“You know what, guys?” Reeves said. “I think I’m going to make your day. I’m going to test out my new stand-up material with you guys. Let me know what you think, and don’t go easy on me, OK?”

“Do you know what every Among Us player has in common that I don’t?” Reeves began. “At least 10 friends to play with.”

No response.

I’m glad more people are using social media as a platform for activism,” Reeves tried again. “It’s much easier to slide into someone’s DMs and bond over voter suppression than a filtered selfie.”

On his left, Layla Ward’s camera remained off. Below him, Scott Gonzalez was typing furiously. Across from him, Krystal Ho was doing her makeup.

“Hey guys, is my mic like off?” Reeves asked. “I don’t know if you guys are hearing me.”

A chat popped up to everyone that read: “The second-hand embarrassment is strong omg.”

Are you guys like … talking about me?” Reeves probed. “I know I said don’t go easy, but let’s just loosen the reins here.”

Reeves tried again.

“So … we’re in unprecedented times right? Everything is closed, you can’t see anybody. I didn’t get how lonely I truly was until I realized that the only boost of serotonin I get is when someone replies to my Canvas discussion posts. Like they’re required to do it, but it meant so much to me I sent them a thank you email,” Reeves finished.

Everyone turned their cameras off. 

“Please guys?” Reeves prompted. “I’ll take any Zoom reaction. A thumbs up? You could just flash your cameras on and off really quickly? Just blink once at me? Anything in the chat? I’ll Venmo you for some feedback!”

The Zoom breakout room closes in 10 seconds.

“You know what? You guys suck. If this was real life I’d have at least gotten a pity applause or a grimace!”

Written By: Renee Wang –– reswang@ucdavis.edu 

(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)